By Joe Ellis

26th Apr, 2022 | 7:10pm

Matt Grimes opens up on Leeds United loan spell that crushed his confidence

Leeds United are one of England’s biggest football clubs but when things aren’t going to plan, it can be a tough place to play your football.

One person who knows this as well as anyone is current Swansea City midfielder Matt Grimes who spent a period of time on loan at Elland Road in the 2016-17 season.

He played just seven times for the Whites over the entire season and didn’t make a single appearance in the final four months of the season before returning to South Wales.

The now 26-year-old has opened up about his time in Yorkshire and says he wouldn’t wish his mental state on any footballer in the game.

“The mental state I was in that season (at Leeds), I don’t wish on any footballer,” Grimes said, as quoted by Wales Online.

“I was training, not playing, going home and sleeping on the sofa because I was living on my own as I wasn’t with my girlfriend at the time.

“I was just in a lull of training and not playing, running on the weekends and it impacted my mental health so much. I was stepping on the pitch, not feeling confident at all and I was thinking should I even be here?

“Should I be at a Premier League team? What am I going to do after this season because it has gone so badly?

“That, coupled with thousands of people outside of football telling me how bad I was, calling me all sorts of ridiculous things.”

Could we do more

It might only be five years since Grimes left the club but things have changed a lot around Elland Road and Thorp Arch.

Player welfare takes a much more prominent focus and we seem to have finally remembered that these are human beings and not footballing machines.

But could we have done more to helpGrimes and others who may have struggled to cope with the move to Leeds and, potentially, not playing as much as they’d hoped?

That isn’t really for us to answer but there is no hiding the fact that every club in the country can always do more to help those struggling with anything mentally.

That doesn’t stop with just the players either as the influx of foreign managers and staff need time to adapt themselves to English living conditions more than English football.

The more everyone is open about these issues, the more we can all come to understand them and, hopefully, no one will ever feel as low as Grimes did again.

In other Leeds United news, one Sky Sports pundit laid into a Whites player during Monday night’s 0-0 draw away at Crystal Palace.