Male football fans have praised England and Tottenham Hotspur player Danny Rose for speaking about his experience of depression, saying it will help to “see the end of the ‘Man Up’ generation”.
During a press conference, the 27-year-old said his depression was triggered by a knee injury that left him unable to play for eight months, coupled with family tragedy. Rose revealed his uncle took his own life while he was on the bench, and said his mum was racially abused in Doncaster last August.
“England has been my salvation and I can’t thank the manager and the medical staff enough. It was really hard, and being referred to a doctor and psychologist by the Spurs club doctor helped me massively to cope,” he said.
HuffPost UK spoke to men about what Rose’s interview means to them.
Phil Lowe, a 37-year-old from Manchester, self-diagnosed his depression in 2016 after reading an article about mental illness on a national newspaper’s website. He now lives in London and attends regular counselling, describing Rose as “brave” and someone to be “admired”.
“I never hid my depression, but I didn’t broadcast it to the world,” he tells HuffPost UK. “I think a leading footballer being as honest as he has been will help men to understand that it is okay to talk about their feelings and that it is okay to ask for help. Hopefully it will see the end of the ‘Man Up’ generation.”
While much of the public reaction to Rose’s interview has been positive, Lowe pointed out some comments have highlighted misconceptions around mental illness that still exist, such as people asking how Rose can be depressed “if he earns £150,000 a week”.
“So, what if he does? If you actually read what he said, he started to enter a dark period when he became injured which took away the thing that he loves – playing football,” argues Lowe. “You can have all the money in the world, nice possessions, flash cars, but if you feel hollow inside, they are all just pointless trinkets.”
Anthony Macson, a 32-year-old marketing manager, from Chichester, also praises Rose for the candid interview. “I think that him speaking out just before the biggest tournament on Earth is a massive step-forward in football becoming more accessible and more relatable to many of us fans,” he tells HuffPost UK. “For too long, players have not openly addressed so many issues which clearly affect them as human beings - mental illness and racism to name but two.”
Footballers are role models, especially for children and teenagers, he says, so “their behaviour does have an impact on people’s lives”.
“I’m so pleased that Danny has had the bravery to speak so candidly about issues that affect so many of us every day,” he says. “From what I have seen on social media, the response to this interview has been overwhelmingly positive, and I hope that Danny gets a lot of public support from those involved in the game.”
Matthew Sledge, 21, from Sandy, Bedfordshire, agrees it’s “massive” as a football fan to see such a prominent player openly talking about suffering with mental health issues.
“There’s a lot of stigma surrounding the topic, especially with men. The idea that men ought to suffer in silence is a real problem, with suicide being the biggest killer of young men. So for Danny Rose to come forward and talk about it is very admirable, especially at a time with such intense pressure and scrutiny on him,” he tells HuffPost UK. “Sometimes, as fans, you forget the stars on the pitch are also human beings, with feelings of their own. I think this is a huge step forward for not just the sport of football, but our society’s understanding of mental health.”
Here’s what Danny Rose’s interview means to other men on Twitter.