Interview: Emile Heskey calls for action to help players who are let down upon retirement

4 November 2020

Photo: PA Images "Ex-players have a massive role to play. Because you can't have a case where everyone is doing everything for you, and you fall out of football and then [when you retire] 'where are all these people?' They're not there for you anymore," says Emile Heskey.

The former England national is part of a recently established group of ex-players with a mission to support footballers in their careers on and off the pitch.

Heskey says players are currently not being guided properly, facing 40-50 years of life after their active playing careers.

While clubs should ensure there is room for professionals to think about their development upon retirement, it's up to the individual to take responsibility for his or her own future.

Emil Gjerding Nielson

When Emile Heskey in 2016 retired from a career spanning more than two decades, 516 Premier League matches, 62 England appearances and more than enough goals to go around, he found himself for the first time in a long time without a plan. 

Having made his first-team debut for Leicester City against Queens Park Rangers at the age of 17 in 1995, he had been meticulously managed for basically all of his late teens and adult life. Suddenly he was on his own and had to make his own way. At the tender age of 38. 

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