Matt Butler: England should rethink employing Dr Steve Peters at World Cup after Liverpool and Ronnie O'Sullivan monkey around - News & Comment - Football - The Independent

 

Matt Butler: England should rethink employing Dr Steve Peters at World Cup after Liverpool and Ronnie O'Sullivan monkey around

The psychiatrist will be in the employ of the Three Lions this summer

The Inner Chimp must have  worked overtime on Bank Holiday Monday. England’s football team will be hoping the pesky ape decides to take the summer off.

The metaphorical chimp in question is the limiting factor so beloved by the sports psychiatrist Dr Steve Peters. And on Monday it wreaked havoc. The simian pest first saw to it that Liverpool threw away a 3-0 lead at Crystal Palace, before getting into Ronnie O’Sullivan’s head in the snooker World Championship final in Sheffield.

Peters has been in Liverpool’s employ since November 2012 and was name-checked by captain Steven Gerrard as the man who helped him rekindle his belief over the last 18 months, as the Anfield side closed in on a first league championship since dinosaurs stalked the earth.

Similarly, Peters was credited in reviving O’Sullivan’s love for snooker, helping him win world title numbers four and five in 2012 and 2013.

At least Ronnie O’Sullivan said he was still ‘very content’ despite losing to Mark Selby (PA) At least Ronnie O’Sullivan said he was still ‘very content’ despite losing to Mark Selby (PA)
Silencing the inner chimp is at the core of Peters’ methods. It worked with British Cycling and seemed to be having a transformative effect on Liverpool and O’Sullivan. He was the guru of self-belief, able to turn also-rans, or in O’Sullivan’s case couldn’t-care-lesses, into winners. Just what a team of perennial under-achievers like England need before the World Cup in Brazil.

But then came those nine minutes at Selhurst Park, when Liverpool did the football equivalent of chucking their trousers in the  washing machine with the winning lottery ticket still in the back pocket. Mark Selby, the “Jester from Leicester” – surely he should spell his nickname “Jeicester”, by the way – swiftly proceeded to put the boot into that other Peters charge, when he came back from 10-5 down to beat O’Sullivan 18-14.

These were massive chokes. Catastrophic chokes. Chokes to have newspapers and websites hastily adding to their lists of “big sporting chokes”. The 1995-96 Newcastle side, the All Blacks in 1999, Greg Norman at the Masters and Jimmy White at the Crucible suddenly had more company.  But these were also chokes to have England fans worried.

Even though we know Dr Peters is not going to be telling Wayne Rooney how to unpick the Italian defence or be  chosen to take the fifth penalty in a shootout (assuming England make it that far), it does throw a little doubt into whether he will be able to work his magic next month.

Or perhaps Liverpool’s and O’Sullivan’s chokes tell us we should not put too much stock in psychiatrists. They can have an effect, of course – who’d have thought Liverpool would have even been challenging for the Premier League in the first week of May? – but the amount they can change people’s thinking clearly has its limits.

There is one crumb of comfort we can take from Monday’s calamities though. A few years ago O’Sullivan would moan about the state of snooker and say how bored he was of the game following a defeat. But on Monday he was magnanimous and polite in losing to Selby, claiming he still felt “very content”.

Something tells us England will do well to take those skills with them to Brazil.

Suggested Topics
News
John Travolta is a qualified airline captain and employed the pilot with his company, Alto
people'That was the lowest I’d ever felt'
Life and Style
healthIt isn’t greasy. It doesn’t smell. And moreover, it costs nothing
News
peopleThe report and photo dedicated to the actress’s decolletage has, unsurprisingly, provoked anger
Property
Home body: Badger stays safe indoors
property
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
The programme sees four specialists creating what they believe are three perfect couples, based on scientific matchmaking. The couples will not meet until they walk down the aisle together
tvUK wedding show jilted
Arts and Entertainment
US pop diva Jennifer Lopez sang “Happy Birthday” to Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, president of Turkmenistan
musicCorporate gigs become key source of musicians' income
Arts and Entertainment
You've been framed: Henri Matisse's colourful cut-outs at Tate Modern
artWhat makes a smash-hit art show
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
filmsDaniel Craig believed to be donning skis as 007 for first time
Sport
Mikel Arteta pictured during Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal
champions league
Voices
Yes supporters gather outside the Usher Hall, which is hosting a Night for Scotland in Edinburgh
voicesBen Judah: Is there a third option for England and Scotland that keeps everyone happy?
Arts and Entertainment
Pulp-fiction lover: Jarvis Cocker
booksJarvis Cocker on Richard Brautigan
Arts and Entertainment
Robin Thicke and Pharell Williams in the video of the song, which has been accused of justifying rape
music...and he had 'almost no part' in writing it
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week