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Gareth Southgate: 'Male footballers do not like showing weakness'

Gareth Southgate says that male footballers are "bloody hard work" when it comes to opening up about mental health issues as they "don't want to show weakness".

Gareth Southgate has admitted that male football players are "bloody hard work" when it comes to opening up about mental health issues as they "don't want to show weakness".

The issue of mental health in football has been making headlines this week after it was announced that Everton winger Aaron Lennon is currently receiving care and treatment for a stress-related illness after being detained by police on Sunday under the Mental Health Act.

Addressing headteachers at the Boarding School Association's annual conference in York on Wednesday, the England manager said that he tries to encourage players to open up about their mental health issues by showing them his own weaknesses.

He is quoted by The Telegraph as saying: "I've played with a couple of players who have mental health issues. I didn't understand it fully then as a player, I have a much better understanding of it as a coach. Having handled a couple of those players, I've spoken to them subsequently and said 'I apologise because I didn't understand what you were going through'.

"We are in a sport where boys aren't comfortable opening up. The women's senior team are brilliant at sharing collectively, they share their feelings, they have a different dynamic as a group. Our men's team are bloody hard work. I would question them as a group when I started and there was silence and I thought I can't have this. I've got to step in.

"They don't want to show weakness in front of each other. I guess I try to give them permission by showing them weaknesses I have, which I think is helpful. But sharing and opening up is not a natural thing for them to do."

Lennon, capped 21 times for England, joined Everton from Tottenham Hotspur in 2015 but has not featured for the Toffees since February 11.

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Everton midfielder Aaron Lennon lines up ahead of his side's Premier League clash with West Ham United at Goodison Park on October 30, 2016
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Lennon detained under Mental Health Act

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United StatesUnited States20231659
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Today's Olympic highlights header

Monday's key events

· There are no Brits in the women's 100m hurdles final, but Puerto Rico's Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, fresh from breaking the Olympic record in the semis, will hope to pip world record holder Kendra Harrison to gold (3.50am)
· The women's 5000m final also has no Team GB representation, but two-time world champion Hellen Obiri of Kenya will be looking to add an Olympic gold to her list of honours (1.40pm)

· The women's skiff 49er FX (6.33am) and men's skiff 49er (7.33am) come to their conclusion, with Team GB involved in both medal races

· A place in the women's gold medal match is up for grabs, starting with an all-North American semi-final between United States and Canada (9am)
· Australia, who edged past Team GB's in a seven-goal quarter-final thriller, take on Sweden in the second semi-final (12pm)

· The track cycling schedule gets underway, with Team GB holding a particular interest in the team pursuit qualifying. Laura Kenny is part of the women's team (7.54am), while the men's team includes Ed Clancy (9.02am)

· The Gadirova twins Jessica and Jennifer will both take part in the women's floor final as they look to add to their team bronze (9.57am)

· Newly-crowned European champion Emily Campbell flies the flag for Great Britain in the women's +87kg, but faces stiff competition for medals from China's Li Wenwen and New Zealand's Laurel Hubbard (11.50am)

· The women's hockey quarter-finals begin, with Team GB last up against Spain (1pm)

> Today's schedule in full
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Belgian Pro League
Swiss Super League
Russian Premier League
Ukrainian Premier League
Swedish Allsvenskan
Danish Superliga
Belarusian Premier League
Major League Soccer
Copa Diego Maradona
Uruguayan Primera Division
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