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?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executive - OTE £25,000

£13000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to be part of a ...

Recruitment Genius: 1st Line Technical Support Engineer

£19000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT and Telecoms company ar...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Manager - Visitor Fundraising

£23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Visitor Fundraising Team is responsi...

Recruitment Genius: Developer

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future