Danny’s Diary #2: How Important Is A Captain?

Gareth Roberts is joined by former Premier League manager Danny Wilson to chat about the week’s issues in football. Mental health, captains and academies are on the agenda this week.

In this week’s podcast Gareth first talks to Danny about the growing number of professional footballers who are revealing their issues around mental health.

Former Newcastle United and Liverpool defender Jose Enrique is among the latest to reveal his struggles, telling The Times this week of his problems around dealing with injury.

He said: “Mentally I was really bad. I had anxiety and panic attacks. You’re thinking too much, worrying too much and it overwhelms you and you can’t breathe.

“For a time, nobody knew except Amy. I didn’t want to say anything because, as a man, you sometimes feel you can’t. In the end I went to a psychiatrist. I took some medication, which helped, but this was a really difficult time.

“Physically I was still in good shape, but I felt really down, really weak, no energy. People don’t realise how many players go through difficulties like this. Not just the names you know but a lot of other players who haven’t said anything yet.”

Also on the agenda is a discussion around captains, sparked by another piece in The Times this week.

The piece by James Gheerbrant revealed: “Ten clubs [in the Premier League] have had the same starting captain for 60 per cent or more of their league games this season. Only three captains (Crystal Palace’s Luka Milivojevic, Wolverhampton Wanderers’ Conor Coady, and Chelsea stand-in César Azpilicueta) have played every game; while seven clubs (Arsenal, Everton, Fulham, Manchester City, Manchester United, Newcastle and Southampton) have had four or more captains. All of which begs a question: is the ever-present, totemic captain an endangered species? And does it matter?”

Danny reveals his thoughts on the importance of a captain, and also how he utilised players with the armband under his management.

Last of all on this episode of Danny’s Diary, the debate turns to comments from Borussia Dortmund’s sporting director Michael Zorc, who claims English clubs have now overtaken their German counterparts in terms the quality of youth players being produced.

He said this week: ““Let’s go back say five or 10 years … there was a time that English clubs signed German players.

“There was a lot of discussion here: ‘It’s all about money you know, it’s too early for them to go from Germany to England.’ But, in the meantime we have the feeling that, yes, the education and development of youth players in the English academies is quite good, to be honest.

“The teams don’t only spend much money on transfers or salaries but also on infrastructure. When you see these youth academies – for example Man City – you can’t compare it with the German standard. It’s much higher, much higher.”

Listen to the debate on iTunes here, Spotify here or via your usual pick of podcast app. And please give us a rating and review on iTunes if you like what you hear!

Watch our latest Football Insiders podcast with former Liverpool, Aston Villa and Leeds defender Stephen Warnock