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Downes: My Head Started to Go
Friday, 1st Feb 2019 16:27

Blues midfielder Flynn Downes has revealed how he struggled with the mental side of football last season and how he benefited from his loan move to Luton Town.

The academy product, from Brentwood in Essex, broke through into the Ipswich first team in pre-season ahead of 2017/18 but as the campaign wore on drifted out of contention before joining the Hatters on deadline day last January and helping them to win promotion from League Two.

“The manager [Mick McCarthy] said it was what I needed at the time and he was right,” Downes, 20, says in an interview with the matchday programme for tomorrow’s game against Sheffield Wednesday.

“I had gone from playing for the U18s, to being in the first team here. Then I got picked for England [U19s]. Everything was on a high but then when things started to drop off for me, my head started to go.

“I was going home thinking I wasn’t fit enough and that I needed to do more. Then the anxiety over that started to affect me in training. It started to get to me mentally. I was going into training and over-thinking stuff.

“That’s why I had to get away. The gaffer spotted that and going to Luton made all the difference to me. It was something new. I didn’t know what to expect but the change worked wonders for me.

 “The mental side is everything. You can be the quickest player, the strongest but if you are not bang on it mentally then your body won’t do it.

“That is what I have learnt. I have changed my look at that. I don’t beat myself up now if training doesn’t go as well as I wanted. I used to.”

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lightingblue added 16:37 - Feb 1
I really do hope and I guess the club has an adequate system in place to help their members of staff with relevant mental health issues, whatever it may be. It’s such a big issue nowadays, and good that people have the right help in place if needed. It affects so many people from different levels of employment and backgrounds. I’m pleased that the plan to let him go and play away from Ipswich. Someone clearly recognised this and knew how to manage it. Hope he is still monitored along with the other younger players making the step up from academy to first team football.

Karlosfandangal added 16:40 - Feb 1
Mick are such a bad manager.
Fancy letting go on loan and not play him in the 1st team like the fans kept going on about.
They always know whats right.

midastouch added 16:56 - Feb 1
If Luton go up I wouldn't be surprised if they make a bid for him.

Pecker added 17:11 - Feb 1
Fair play to the lad. Hope he is here for many years to come.

ArnieM added 17:38 - Feb 1
Amen to that Flynn . And let all our other academy players that want to be in the first team tat note of us expletive and his attitude . This is why he will probably have a get successful career.

rfretwell added 18:22 - Feb 1
Well done to Mick for spotting that issue. Credit where credits due. The benefit of having a very experienced manager at the helm. Not that many like to acknowledge that.

LWNR2013 added 18:50 - Feb 1
Respect to Luton for their response 👏

cooper4england added 19:13 - Feb 1
Makes you wonder how many world beaters in training don't make it because of the mental aspect of the game. Playing in front of 20,000 can't be easy.

RomeoZondervan added 19:21 - Feb 1
Well done Flynn for having the courage to come out and speak about mental health. When a lot of people still see football as a man man's game. I take my hat off to you for speaking out

runningout added 20:17 - Feb 1
it’s something that was and is showing on quite a few of our squad. Can be helped by a little arrogance (a good thing) and self belief.. Well done Flynn

Karlosfandangal added 20:38 - Feb 1

Also playing in front of a crowd that are calling for a manager head or them telling you your crap.

Wonder how Skuse copes week in week out

cartman1972 added 21:32 - Feb 1
Just think next season Luton will be a better placed more successful side than us.... They'll be loaning us players for match fitness 😂

bluered26 added 07:45 - Feb 2
FD continued development has to be one of the highlights of the season

Kikapu added 12:08 - Feb 2
I don't think it's much to do with his mental health as it is to do with his mental approach to competition. It's the stress that most of us can't handle and that's why a professional sports psychologist can help these youngsters to turn it from a negative to a positive. You only need to look at the success of Steve Peters' work with Ronnie O'Sullivan to understand the importance of these professionals in the development of their young clients.
I've no idea if MM spoke to a psychologist first or just relied on his own intuition before deciding that for Flynn a change was as good as a rest. Certainly worked though.

Blue_Moses added 12:10 - Feb 2
Glad he's spoken out about this, the club should be able to support but if not there are plenty of people to speak with in Ipswich Flynn.

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