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'It was always a self-belief issue' - Steven Reid reflects on his career

Steven Reid talks through the mental anguish and stress he dealt with throughout his career as a professional footballer.

Former Ireland international Steven Reid joined The Football Show to discuss his career.

Steven Reid is 41 years of age and hasn't played for Ireland since 2008.

Reid was a versatile, extremely talented footballer who suffered too many injuries throughout his career. He only played 23 times for Ireland but was a player who deserved more than double that number of appearances. And although he sporadically featured for Ireland, Reid did enjoy a lengthy career in club football in England.

His last game came in 2015 with Burnley. Since then, Reid has worked in coaching. Reid is presently a first-team coach for Nottingham Forest.

Now that Reid is outside of the bubble of being a professional footballer and considering his players from a different vantage point, he's showing some introspection about his journey. Reid explains that he dealt with imposter syndrome and other mental health challenges when he was coming up as a footballer with Milwall.

He first played for Milwall's senior team in 1998.

"For me it probably started during the transition leaving school and going straight into the professional football environment," Reid said.

"Finish your exams at school, a few weeks later you begin your YTS programme, which it was then, which is a scholarship now. We were based at the training ground at Milwall where everyone was together. So you're talking 16 year olds all the way to your senior pros. Everyone was under the same roof, in the same building.

"I found it a struggle to get used to that environment for a while.

"The banter. Just getting used to how players spoke to each other back then. Getting used to the environment being around senior pros where every single game matters. Win or lose. It might be the appearances, win bonuses, players have responsibilities of their own.

"All of a sudden it just became serious. That's when the pressure comes. That's when a lot of the stresses and the anxieties come. And that's why ultimately the percentage of players that progress, I think a big part of that is actually dealing with the mental side.

"The constant scrutiny. The constant judgment everyday. That just continues on.

"I found ways to deal with it. I needed support all the way along my route, but all the way along as well it would crank up a notch."

The growing pressure and stress matched Reid's own personal growth as an individual. That meant he continued to doubt himself even after establishing himself as a Premier League player and international-standard footballer.

His imposter syndrome never truly left him despite getting help to manage it throughout his career.

"I'm just constantly questioning myself. Am I going to get found out. Can I do it at this level. That was my sort of go-to. It was always a negative spin on it. It was always a self-belief issue dealing with all the pressures and all the anxieties. Living away from home for the first time.

"The more people I speak to you find it in all walks of's not just football. It's not just sport."

Phil Foden is actually a central midfielder.


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Ireland Milwall Nottingham Forest Steven Reid