Former Southend goalkeeper Ted Smith who Spurs were linked with during the January transfer window has surprisingly announced his retirement from football after admitting to falling out of love with the game.
There are contradictory reports on whether Smith was actually signed by Spurs in January. Football Insider reported that the goalkeeper was handed a short-term contract for a few months after Brandon Austin joined Danish side Viborg on loan.
The Sun meanwhile claim that Spurs came close to completing a deal for Smith in January after his trial at the club last summer but he did not sign on the dotted line.
The shot-stopper, who represented England at Under 18, 19 and 20 level, has revealed that while he always enjoyed the game, he never liked having the spotlight on him during a matchday.
He told The Telegraph: “It wasn’t me. It wasn’t what I enjoyed. I love the game and the training side of it but when it came to matchday pressures, it was always a bit too much for me.
“It was a long-time coming but I’m getting my head around it. In your head, you’re telling people that you’re giving up a job that is everyone’s dream. I suppose that is the hard bit.”
The 24-year-old revealed how the abuse he got on social media was quite difficult for him to handle and that it continued to bother him going into matches.
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Smith added: “After a game, I’d go back and look on social media straight away and see what people were saying.
“For 90 per cent of the time there was nothing but if there were two or three comments after a bad game, I’d hold onto it if I got criticised. It would affect me during the week. Instead of looking at the positives, the negatives would niggle at me.
“You should enjoy games. It wasn’t for want of trying. I tried so hard to go into a game enjoying it but couldn’t. I tried everything. I built up that fear of playing a game for so long. I just can’t switch that off.
“I saw a sports psychologist. Deep down if I had a match I wouldn’t be excited. It would be the initial thought of dread and then it ingrained in me that I couldn’t get my head around it.
“There might be other people in this situation. I don’t know how many. I hope what I say can help other people realise there is more to life than putting yourself through the stresses of a football game.”
Spurs Web Opinion
Some fans often underestimate how much psychological pressure professional footballers are under every week with people constantly slagging them off on social media. Being a goalkeeper is especially difficult as a single mistake can cost your side the game. It requires unbelievable mental strength to be able to bounce back from mistakes and to perform consistently.