Tottenham's Mauricio Pochettino praises inspirational Aaron Lennon

Tottenham's Mauricio Pochettino praises inspirational Aaron Lennon
From ESPN - January 12, 2018

LONDON -- Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has described the club's former player Aaron Lennon as an inspiration for speaking publicly about his mental health problems.

Pochettino ended Lennon's decade-long stay at Spurs by allowing him to join Saturday's opponents Everton, initially on loan, in February 2016, eight months after the Argentine had joined the club.

In May last year, Lennon, 30, was detained under the Mental Health Act amid concerns over his welfare, when he was found by police near a busy motorway in Salford.

The former England international received treatment for a stress-related illness before returning to training two months later, and he has since urged people to "speak out" about mental illness, saying "it's great and good to talk."

"When a public person like Aaron is talking so openly to the media, to the fans, to the people, it is always very helpful to many people who might have the same problem but it's impossible to see," Pochettino said of Lennon, who remains a popular figure among Spurs fans ahead of Everton's visit to Wembley.

"The fact Aaron spoke publicly about the issue can inspire people around he world, not only in football, through him or through his behaviour, to get some help," continued Pochettino, who chose to speak in Spanish while his assistant Jesus Perez translated.

"Because Aaron spoke publicly that there are a lot of people ready to help people with temporary mental [health] issues, it's good for him to get the love from the fans and inspire people to get the same help and talk about it."

Asked if mental health issues were a wider issue in the game, Pochettino said: "Not only in football, [but] in general society [too]. But not everybody is strong enough to talk publicly about their own situation."

Lennon -- who scored in a 1-1 draw with Spurs in January 2016 and is expected to feature on Saturday -- made just three league starts under Pochettino, with his best performance coming against the Toffees in a 2-1 win in November 2014.


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