Brighton goalkeeper Jason Steele admits, “there was a time when I hated football.”
Jason Steele admits that he “hated” football until resurrecting his career at Brighton.
Under Roberto de Zerbi, Steele has emerged as Brighton’s first-choice goalkeeper this season.
Earlier in his career, however, he was at a “tipping point” and needed to find a way to rediscover his love for the game.
“There was a time when I was at the bottom, properly at the bottom, to the point where I wasn’t even interested in playing football,” Steele explained.
“I’m not afraid of it. “I know I can recover from that, so failure no longer scares me,” the 32-year-old added on BBC Radio 5 Live’s Monday Night Club.
Steele had previously been relegated from the Championship with Blackburn Rovers and Sunderland before moving to the south coast in 2018.
Although he did not play in any of Brighton’s first 22 Premier League games this season, he has subsequently started all 11 games in which he has been available to support his side’s campaign for a top-six finish, which would secure European qualifying for the first time in the club’s history.
“There was a time when I despised football and everything associated with it. “It’s the mess that social media creates – it constantly plays with you and you carry it around like a big massive weight on your shoulders all the time,” Steele explained.
“You don’t act yourself, and you’re difficult to be around, and that’s what drove me away from football.”
“That was the tipping point – it was like, how do I get myself back in love with the game?”
“I’ve managed to accomplish that down here.”
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Steele was speaking on the effect of social media abuse on players after Leeds United issued a statement denouncing the “completely unacceptable online abuse” thrown at Patrick Bamford and his family.
The club demanded that such behavior cease after the striker missed a penalty against Newcastle on Saturday.
“It doesn’t just affect us; it affects our families, children, and wives.” People who are sitting there writing these things are unaware of the impact. “We are all human, we all have feelings and emotions,” Steele remarked.
“I’m completely off of it, and I don’t need it.” I’m old and wise enough to recognize when I’ve had a good or bad game. I don’t need folks tweeting at me and telling me what to do.
“You’d be playing a game, looking at your phone, and some of the things that get said… That was ten years ago, and I believe it has recently gotten considerably worse.
“I don’t know Patrick personally, but he hasn’t missed a penalty on purpose.” He didn’t do anything to annoy the fans. It’s just another one of those things. It’s football time. It happens on a weekly basis.”