Arsenal have reportedly made sure that their sports psychologists are on call for Academy players, a move that surely seems sensible regardless of any pandemic.
With most players looking at the guts of five months without any football despite many youngsters expecting to take part in youth tournaments this summer, Arsenal have ensured that their sports psychologists are on call should they be needed. Again, something that strikes me as odd that it wasn’t in place before.
Speaking to the press, Arsenal youngster, Sam Greenwood said, “We’ve not been able to go back with lockdown but hopefully when it slackens off then we can get down too,” said Greenwood. “They’ve been letting us know about the information when we’ve met once a week on Microsoft Teams.
“We’ve got a psychologist called Kate [Green, head of personal development and psychology]. On Microsoft, a lot of the lads speak to her. If some of the lads struggle, she’s always there to talk or Facetime. We have group calls but she is available any time to speak individually.”
Greenwood, however, has been back with his family in County Durham while many Arsenal youngsters are stuck on their own.
Greeenwood will turn professional next season and was expected to turn out for the England u18 side in a Leeds-based tournament against Italy, Belgium and the Republic of Ireland before Covid-19 struck.
“It’s about two months since I last played,” he said. “Mentally it is tough being by yourself. You don’t have people to push you, telling you to keep going. I’m quite good at training hard by myself, I managed to get weights before lockdown and had them in the garage
“I’ve been running and there is also the programme Arsenal gave us with different types of running. One day would be sprints, then other days distance runs. It’s just to keep everything ticking over. I’ve always been one to get up early and the first thing I do is train. I’ve done it all my life so it is natural.
“In the future my targets are to get some more opportunities to train with the first team, to start every game for the Under-23s. I just want more opportunities.
“When I’ve trained with the first team there are some world-class players, you’ve got your Aubameyangs and the quality is top drawer. The manager has been really good with the youth players and has always tried to make us feel confidence when we’re with them.
“We just need to class this as the end of the season that goes on a bit longer. The bigger picture is that people are dying. Football comes second to that.”