• Football

Psychologist hails Sturridge and Henderson

ESPN staff
April 17, 2014
Daniel Sturridge and Jordan Henderson have been integral to Liverpool's success this season © Getty Images

The psychologist hired by Brendan Rodgers to give his Liverpool players a mental edge has hailed two of England's World Cup hopefuls as being a joy to work with.

Dr Steve Peters says Daniel Sturridge, who could be fit for the club's upcoming trip to Norwich, and Jordan Henderson are committed team players as Liverpool chase their first Premier League title since 1990.

Monkey off the back

Dr Steve Peters has written a book about The Chimp Paradox © Getty Images
  • Two-time defending world snooker champion Ronnie O'Sullivan believes Peters was instrumental in his 2012 and 2013 successes at The Crucible.

    "I used to be really good or really bad, but I think Steve Peters has helped me play decently even when I'm not on top of my game," wrote O'Sullivan in his autobiography Running. "I am definitely more disciplined than I was, thanks to Steve.

    "He's taught me that giving up is just my emotional chimp sabotaging me, which it will do in certain situations. So I don't listen to the chimp's voice in the match. I will do afterwards but not when I'm playing, so I'm giving 100 per cent in the game.

    "My work with Steve has made me less emotional about the game, in a good way. I don't think I'd have won back-to-back [world] titles without the help of Steve Peters."

"Daniel and Jordan are great to work with," Peters told the Daily Mail. "They listen. They engage. And they epitomise what I aim for, which is teamwork. We're a team working on their mind, exploring it together."

Peters also praised Rodgers as one of the best coaches he has ever worked with, comparing his methods to those of the hugely successful cycling chief Sir Dave Brailsford, who guided Team GB to eight gold medals in each of the past two Olympics as well as masterminding Sir Bradley Wiggins' and Chris Froome's victories in the Tour de France.

"With Dave and Brendan we will have a lot of brainstorming sessions, with a big white board," Peters said. "They are very similar in their approach.

"Dave and I gelled because we work as a team. It's the same with Brendan."

Peters, who has also been recruited by Roy Hodgson to help England at this summer's World Cup, does not claim to know anything about football or cycling, preferring to take his cue from coaches and athletes.

"My role is to listen to what they want, where they want to go, and then I make suggestions," he said. "I don't know anything about football or cycling, so I watch my boundaries.

"I don't come into here and tell Liverpool players how to play football. That would be absurd. I simply ask if what they are doing is advantageous? What are they doing that isn't?

"Then you get the player and ask them what they think. It's my job to get the mindset to operate the way they want it to operate."

Liverpool and England captain Steven Gerrard has credited Peters, who joined the club's backroom staff 18 months ago, with helping him during a campaign that has seen his club exceed everyone's expectations to sit four victories away from what would be Gerrard's first Premier League title.

"He's really helped me, not so much with the technical side of the game but with what's going on in my head and the mental preparation," Gerrard said.

"I was a little bit lost and he just simplifies what's going on. If the players buy into it he will be able to help them with mental preparation, especially in pressure situations."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd
ESPN staff Close