Prince William checked in with a couple of British soccer stars ahead of the FIFA World Cup to make sure that the athletes aren’t just physically prepared, but also mentally.
The Prince of Wales sat down for a chat with two English players, Harry Kane and Declan Rice, to find out how they’re maintaining a healthy emotional and mental state in the lead up to the games later this month, sharing the whole conversation on the Kensington Royal social media accounts. William explained that, for him, sports gives him the opportunity to become mentally tougher as it forces him to grapple with disappointment and loss. “You learn by playing a number of times and many other things in life that disappointment is part of life and how you handle it is crucial,” he told the players. Both athletes also admitted to struggling with being deeply upset following their loss in the finals of the Euro 2020 tournament held in July 2021. The royal continued, “Handling some of those really disappointing England results in the past, that was hard, I found that really difficult, because again the same euphoria that we had comes crashing down. You feel high and all together, and then normal life just gets on again.”
After England lost in the Euro finals, William reached out personally to a number of players on the team who were victims of racist abuse on social media. Rice explained that, “There was a special moment after that game [the Euros final], the togetherness when we all come in a huddle after we’d lost that, and Gareth [Southgate, the team’s manager] said some really important words. As a group, I think that brought us forward together because then we had to qualify for a World Cup in the next round of games.” He continued, “We really overcame that setback of losing that final, showed our togetherness and our strength and I feel that we are in a really good place as a national team that we can keep pushing and getting better because the togetherness we’ve built is really special to be a part of.”
Kane, the captain of the team who has also recently launched his own mental health foundation, added, “Talking here about different stuff — highs and lows that we’ve been through as players. That’s my aim is to, especially to the younger generation, talk to them and try and provide ways of talking about mental health and wellbeing. The more we talk about it, and open up, it will definitely help solve and hopefully encourage people not to be afraid to ask for help, especially when you are feeling a little bit lower.” The prince noted, “It’s important to have people who catch us a little bit when we’re down,” mentioning the initiative Shout that he and his wife Kate Middleton support which provides a 24-hour texting support service for people in need of help. He concluded, “It is there to carry people through those darker moments.”
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