I reached a point where I HATED football, I was properly at the bottom but now I’m chasing Europe with Brighton
JASON STEELE has revealed he “hated” football before re-discovering his love for the game at Brighton.
Steele has been a surprise star of the Seagulls’ push for Europe, overtaking Robert Sanchez as Roberto De Zerbi‘s first choice keeper this season.
ReutersJason Steele has admitted he started to hate football[/caption]
ReutersHe has now become Roberto De Zerbi’s number one[/caption]
But he has suffered struggles before, worn down by social media abuse during successive relegations to League One with Blackburn and Sunderland before joining Brighton in 2018.
Steele has been superb for the Seagulls since breaking into the side and is now enjoying football once more as Brighton push for a first ever European campaign next season.
Steele said: “There was a spell where I was at the bottom, properly at the bottom, to the point I wasn’t even bothered about playing football anymore.
“It was a point when I hated football, I hated everything that came with it. It’s the mess social media causes – it plays with you constantly and you carry it around like a big massive weight on your shoulders all the time.
“You don’t act yourself and you are hard to be around and that’s what drove me to the point of not really loving football anymore.
“It was a case of that being the tipping point – it was like, how do I get myself back in love with the game?
“I’ve managed to do that down here.
“I’m not scared of it. I know I can bounce back from that, so failure doesn’t scare me anymore.”
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Over the weekend, Leeds were forced to condemn social media abuse aimed at Patrick Bamford and his family after the striker missed a penalty in their 2-2 draw with Newcastle.
Asked about the impact of abuse on BBC 5Live’s Monday Night Club, Steele added: “It doesn’t just affect us, it’s our families, kids and wives.
“People who are sitting there writing these things don’t understand the effect. We are all human, we all feel things, we all have emotions.
“I’m fully off it and I don’t need it. I’m old and wise enough to know when I’ve had a good game or a bad game. I don’t need people tweeting me and telling me this and that.
“That’s 10 years ago and I think it has escalated so much recently.
“I don’t really know Patrick as a person but he hasn’t missed a penalty on purpose. He hasn’t done it to harm the fans. It’s just one of those things. It’s football. It happens week in and week out.”
De Zerbi has helped transform Steele’s time at Brighton, picking out the keeper’s style as more suited to the way his side play than Sanchez.
Steele said: “He’s incredible. I would have said that three months ago before I was in the team. He is full of charisma and passion, before the technical and tactical side.
“You see him in the morning and he’s full of love but on the pitch he’s a different person and I love that.
“He laces his boots up and turns into an animal.”