Positive mental health vital for footballers in lockdown says MK Dons' Jordan Houghton

MK Dons midfielder Jordan Houghton Credit: ITV News Anglia

Learning Spanish is just one way MK Dons midfielder Jordan Houghton has tried to deal with the lockdown while league football is suspended.

Like most EFL League One footballers the 24 year old former Chelsea trainee is still waiting to hear if their season will resume, or will be brought to a premature end.

And Houghton, who joined the Dons in July 2018, says it's been very important to maintain a positive mental health while the country still deals with the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It's not just footballers. Everyone's going to be struggling with mental health because you're stuck indoors. It's not normal. "You have to be innovative with things to do around the house or what-not. You always have to try and keep your brain active. "I've just tried learning some Spanish, which is quite a good way to keep your brain ticking over. I know a lot of people read and that helps. "I think you've got to try and find your way of finding that stimulus away from your normal day-to-day things, which you can't do at the moment. "And just try to make the best of what's the worst situation possible really"

Jordan Houghton, MK Dons

Part of Houghton's coping mechanism is aided by a sports psychologist who he's worked with since his days as a young professional at Stamford Bridge.

"I've been working with a guy called Dave Collins who's with a company called Grey Matters, a sports psychologist company. "I first came in contact with them when I was at Chelsea. I was a bit unlucky with injuries, and I was coming back from a bad knee injury at the time. "Over the six month period I was out for I was working with him putting the blocks and foundations together, to work out the steps I would go through to get back fit. "Luckily I made good progress and I personally put at lot of it down to the mental side where I was visualising where I would be one month down the line so by the time I got there I felt I was was more or less ready in my head. "And then I've got back into it over the past year in terms of an actual football point of view. I feel like it's really helped me in terms of that self confidence, self believe. "It's definitely helped me over this period so far."

Jordaan Houghton, MK Dons

Jordan Houghton speaking to ITV News Anglia via Zoom