Ralph Hasenhuttl says footballers need protection from gaming addictions

Gaming among footballers is particularly prevalent
Image: Gaming among footballers is particularly prevalent

Professional footballers need support and protection from falling into addictions to gaming, according to Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl.

The Austrian revealed that some players at his former club, RB Leipzig, would stay up until 3am gaming the day before a match.

For Hasenhuttl, treating gaming as an addiction similar to alcoholism or drug addiction is important in protecting individuals from harm.

"Gaming is something you have to force action against and I will do this," said Hasenhuttl. "I did it in my last club.

"We had problems with players - they were playing until 3am before a match.

Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl 1:48
Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl says he is actively trying to protect his players from becoming addicted to gaming.

"You have to be active and help protect them because it's not a small problem.

"To be honest it's the same as alcoholism or getting addicted to drugs or something like that.

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"It's something you get addicted to and you have to protect the players; that's something we have to do as a club.

"To protect them means we have to help them to not spend so much time gaming. I will always be active in this direction."

In an interview with Southampton FC's website on Saturday, striker Shane Long explained why he had deleted his Twitter account, saying he simply doesn't want to deal with the negativity it brings.

"I think you put unnecessary pressure on yourself," said Long. "I don't take any notice when I'm doing well and people are praising me, so why should I pay attention to all the negative things being said about me?

Shane Long has decided to stop using Twitter
Image: Shane Long has decided to stop using Twitter

"The younger age grow up with social media, so hopefully it doesn't pollute their minds as they get older.

"Coming off Twitter has been good for me - I don't read any negative stuff. I'm my own worst and best critic - I know what I've done well and what I need to improve on.

"Those people writing on Twitter can't change it. It's only me who can change it."

Nathan Redmond has also opted to step away from social media and Hasenhuttl said that, like gaming, it can be an addictive vice.

"In my own squad at the moment there are no problems, but you can be sure that I am in contact with my captain and a few players to speak about them," said Hasenhuttl on gaming.

"Social media is the same thing - cutting access to the smartphone after a few hours would sometimes be necessary.

"It's part of our community and we have to face it."

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