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Lennon encourages other pros to seek help for depression

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Aaron Lennon believes that there are other professional footballers struggling with depression, and he has encouraged anyone suffering silently to “speak to someone, because there is a lot of help available and it can really make a difference.”

[ MORE: Pep Guardiola loving life as “bold” Man City advances in UCL ]

Speaking at a Burnley in the Community event this week, Lennon revealed that, in light of his own public bout with depression, he has made himself available as a sounding board for “a couple of players” already and he welcomes others in the game to do the same — quotes from the Guardian:

“I have spoken to a couple of players about it to offer them advice. They wanted to know what I’d been through and where to get help. There are probably still players out there who don’t want to talk about anything to anyone — I know because that is just what I was like — but my message would be to speak to someone because there is a lot of help available and it can really make a difference. The person I spoke to when I was being treated helped me massively within about 10 minutes.”

Lennon, of course, acknowledges that it’s something which is much easier said than done. He himself didn’t actively seek help, but was instead briefly detained under the UK’s Mental Health Act in May 2017. It’s not just current pros for whom Lennon fears, but the next wave of players coming through who come under intense scrutiny from a very early age.

“I’m not really the sort of person who finds it easy to ask for help; at least, I wasn’t until a couple of years ago. As a footballer, I knew how to look after my physical health but that was all — I didn’t know what to do about my mental wellbeing. I didn’t really know who to turn to when I started to feel low, and that’s why the situation got to where it did.”

“It was a gradual process. I didn’t realize I needed help until it was too late. I would tell my friends and family I was OK, but I really wasn’t. That’s why I think it’s brilliant that people are being put into schools, because people who need help can be difficult to spot, they tend to cover it up well.

“There’s a lot of pressure on kids nowadays, with social media and camera phones on top of their exams and schoolwork. I don’t think I’d want to go through it all again to be honest. What I would say though is that it is OK if you don’t feel great all the time, and that talking to people can help. I can really see the point of projects like this, because mental illness is definitely something you can recover from.”

Lennon, 31, believes he has made a full recovery and is back to operating as the best version of himself.

Season over: Hudson-Odoi suffers suspected achillies tear

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One incident on Monday showed why some players are so desperate to change clubs when given the chance. They may never get it again.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Callum Hudson-Odoi said on his Instagram post Monday evening that he had suffered a ruptured achillies tendon. If confirmed by the club, it’s usually a nine-month recovery process, with some players needing a full year to return to full fitness. Considering the timing of this, towards the end of the season, it means that Hudson-Odoi may miss an entire season of top-flight soccer, as well as possibly miss out on a chance to move to Bayern Munich this summer.

The injury is a huge blow to the 18-year-old, who had forced his way into the Chelsea side after strong performances in the UEFA Europa League, and now he’s making regular Premier League starts at the tender age of 18. Hudson-Odoi had started four-straight Premier League games including Monday, but now he faces a long layoff.

In Hudson-Odoi’s favor is his youth. While it can be a career-ending injury, hopefully Hudson-Odoi could retain his electric pace once he recovers and can return to the starting lineup for Chelsea.

But it’s a big disappointment to the young Englishman, who surely would have played for England youth national teams this summer and could have potentially made a big-money move abroad.

Prince-Wright’s Premier League picks

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Four midweek Premier League games will be pivotal in shaping the title race, top four battle, race for seventh and the relegation picture.

Tuesday and Wednesday will be a lot of fun.

[ STREAM: Every PL game live ]

If you, like me, love to dissect all the games and predict what the score will be and which team will win, I encourage you to get involved in the comments section below. Let’s have a bit of fun.

Okay, so I’ve consulted my crystal ball and here’s how we see things panning out. Listen carefully, because this is very specific.

While you can download the NBC Sports Predictor app (below) and play the Premier League Pick ‘Em game yourself to predict the scores and win the prizes.

DOWNLOAD NBC SPORTS PREDICTOR

With the first section labelled “basically, free money” for the picks I think are dead certs. The section labelled “don’t touch this” means if you’re betting I advise you to stay clear, while the “so you’re telling me there’s a chance” section are the long shots. If it is better odds you are after, those are the picks to go for.


BASICALLY, FREE MONEY

Tottenham 3-1 Brighton – (Tuesday, 2:45 p.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM]

Watford 3-1 Southampton – (Tuesday, 2:45 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Gold) – [STREAM


DON’T TOUCH THIS…

Man United 1-2 Man City – (Wednesday, 3 p.m. ET, NBCSN) – [STREAM


“SO YOU’RE TELLING ME THERE’S A CHANCE…”

Wolves 2-1 Arsenal – (Wednesday, 2:45 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Gold) – [STREAM

Relevant Sports sues USSF over proposed Ecuador match in Florida

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NEW YORK (AP) A promoter has sued the U.S. Soccer Federation, asking a court to order the governing body to sanction an Ecuador league match in Florida.

Relevent Sports filed suit Monday in New York Supreme Court in Manhattan, alleging the USSF illegally refused to approve its application to have Ecuador’s Barcelona and Guayaquil clubs play on May 5 at Miami Gardens.

The lawsuit quotes USSF policy as stating the governing body’s secretary general “shall grant such sanction unless it is decided by clear and convincing evidence that holding or sponsoring the international soccer competition would be detrimental to the best interest of the sport.”

The USSF did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

Relevent attempted to stage the first Spanish La Liga match in the U.S., between Barcelona and Girona at Miami Gardens on Jan. 26. That effort fell through following opposition from the governing body of Spanish soccer, the Real Federacion Espanola de Futbol, and the players’ union, the Asociacion de Futbolistas Espanoles.

Midweek Premier League TV, streaming schedule

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Four Premier League games are coming your way, and all four have huge implications in the title race, top four battle, race for seventh place and the scrap against relegation.

Bring it on.

MORE: Sign up for NBC Sports Gold ] 

The full TV schedule for the midweek games are below, plus you can watch every single second of every single game live online via NBC Sports.com,the NBC Sports App and by purchasing the new “Premier League Pass” via NBC Sports Gold.

Gold also includes an extensive selection of shoulder programming such as Premier League News, Premier League Today and NBC Sports originals such as Premier League Download and much more.

[ STREAM: Premier League live here ] 

You can also watch Premier League “Goal Rush” for all the goals as they go in around the grounds. Goal Rush is available via NBC Sports.com and the NBC Sports App.

[ MORE: Premier League “Goal Rush” ] 

If you’re looking for full-event replays of Premier League games, you can find them here for the games streamed on NBCSports.com and here for the games on NBC Sports Gold.

Here’s your full TV schedule for the next few days.


FULL TV SCHEDULE

Tuesday
2:45 p.m. ET: Tottenham v. Brighton – NBCSN [STREAM]
2:45 p.m. ET: Watford v. Southampton – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]

Wednesday
2:45 p.m. ET: Wolves v. Arsenal – NBC Sports Gold [STREAM]
3 p.m. ET: Man United v. Man City – NBCSN [STREAM]