Football: Collymore to seek stress counselling

STAN COLLYMORE is to seek stress counselling to help him overcome his "current difficulties."

It was thought that Aston Villa's pounds 7m record signing would be on the carpet after failing to turn up for Saturday's FA Cup match against Fulham. But Villa have said that Collymore was not in a fit state to be considered and have vowed to help the former England striker through his problems.

Villa issued a brief statement after meetings during the day between Villa's manager, John Gregory, Collymore, his representative, Paul Stretford, and the club's board of directors. As a result of those talks, Collymore has put his career on hold while he seeks the counselling that he feels is vital.

The statement said: "Stan Collymore has made it clear that pressures and stress have been building up for a long period of time, which culminated in the decision by the club not to consider him fit to play on Saturday.

"Following this, Stan has declared that he wishes to seek further counselling to help him overcome his current difficulties." It added that the Villa's manager and board of directors had expressed their desire to help Collymore.

Gregory was unavailable for comment after the meeting and Stretford would only say: "We have had talks all day and I think the statement says everything that has to be said. I am certainly not letting on when the counselling will get underway or where it will take place."

Collymore has expressed his unhappiness at Villa in recent weeks and last week spelt out his disappointment at being only a "peripheral" part of Gregory's title plans. The former Liverpool player had been a substitute for six of the previous eight matches before the shock Cup defeat by Fulham. Gregory had responded by urging Collymore to follow the example of Julian Joachim in fighting his way back into the side.

Then came Collymore's non-appearance for the Fulham match after Gregory had admitted he was originally selected to play another role from the substitute's bench.

Stretford insisted yesterday that Collymore had not gone Awol and that the player had contacted the Villa physio, Jim Walker, on Friday, claiming that he was not fit to play. The extent of his condition has now been revealed and he may now face a long battle to overcome his problems.

Another errant striker, Mark Viduka, yesterday promised he is at Celtic to stay and that he will never again turn his back on the Glasgow club.

The Australian international striker lasted a mere 72 hours at Parkhead in December following his pounds 3m signing from Croatia Zagreb, before leaving for Australia complaining of stress. Yesterday was his first public appearance with the club since his return.

Viduka was keen to avoid apportioning blame for his seven-week absence, saying his only concern now was launching his Celtic career on the pitch. He pointed to his unhappiness in Zagreb as the overriding factor in his swift departure from Scotland, but claims that his personal troubles are out of his system and will not return.

Viduka, who now wishes to be known as Mark rather than Marko, said: "I understand all this is not a usual occurrence, but it is hard to understand. I felt I wasn't ready to fulfil my contract without having a rest before that and getting things back into balance.

"Is there a guarantee I'll stay? I am back here - that is a good enough guarantee. I'm ready to start playing for Celtic and give my heart to the team.

"I thought at the time I first came here I would be able to take it in my stride, but the whole package was too much - including the pressure from the fans at Zagreb. The last months in Croatia were hard to take, and that only hit me when I came to Glasgow."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Rocky road: Dwayne Johnson and Carla Gugino play an estranged husband and wife in 'San Andreas'
filmReview: In the face of all-round devastation, even Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson appears a little puny
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Bright lights, big city: Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles by dusk
books
Sport
Harry Kane makes Paul Scholes' Premier League team of the season
footballPaul Scholes on the best players, managers and goals of the season - and the biggest disappointments
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Middleweight

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: One of the South East's fastest growing full s...

Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

£35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

Recruitment Genius: Commercial Engineer

£30000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Estimating, preparation of tech...

Recruitment Genius: IT Support Technician

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will work as part of a smal...

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor