Gareth Barry says players need more support before retiring
By Sky Sports News
Last Updated: 05/04/19 11:59pm
Gareth Barry admits he is scared of retirement and believes the Professional Footballers' Association and clubs must do more to support players at the end of their career.
The 38-year-old West Brom midfielder, who is out of contract at the end of the season, admits he is nearing the end of his playing career after more than two decades in English football.
Barry intends to play for another season but says no one has contacted him about his future.
"Being honest, the PFA and the clubs probably don't offer as much," said Barry.
"The PFA are there to help you out and cope with it a lot more but individuals are coming out and you're not experienced.
"I could potentially retire pretty soon but has anyone spoken to me about what I'm doing? No. Sometimes you are left to your own devices. There's definitely stuff that can be done.
"It's such an important period in people's lives, suddenly they probably feel they are on their own.
"(Retirement scares me) a tiny bit if I'm honest. Anything you're not in control of you can't be that comfortable with.
"I can't sit here and be all big balls and take it in my stride because it'll probably be difficult to deal with. I'm not one to plan but I'm always positive about things."
The PFA offers a 24-hour helpline, has a national network of over 100 counsellors and has treated over 1,000 members.
The union has also hosted two mental health conferences and has an online youth advisory service for academy players, who are yet to be PFA members.
Barry was speaking at the launch of this year's Nick Mowl Cup, in memory of former Solihull Moors player Mowl who committed suicide in 2017.
The competition aims to raise awareness about mental health and £100,000 for a national suicide prevention text scheme.
Barry believes attitudes towards mental health have changed since he made his debut for Aston Villa in 1998.
"I wasn't sure whether to bring this up but I was thinking about it. When I played with Stan Collymore and he came out with his problems, it made big headlines," said Barry.
"Back then it was looked on a lot differently, there was probably less sympathy. Now it's not something you have to worry about. You can say you have mental problems and are struggling a little bit."
Barry is currently chasing promotion to the Premier League with West Brom and the former England international is desperate to play one final season in the top flight.
"I definitely wanted to play one more year, that's still the case now," he said. "Anything is a bonus. My health is good and if I still feel I can compete at the level then why not.
"That would be nice (adding to his Premier League record) but I'm just grateful to still be playing.
"I'm relaxed about my future, the club need to know where they are but we're confident we can go up. Then decisions will be made then."