Prince William tells England players 'football teaches you disappointment is part of life'

UK royal has taken part in a conversation with star players about mental health

The Prince of Wales with host Kelvyn Quagraine, left, and footballers Harry Kane and Declan Rice, right. PA
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The Prince of Wales has spoken with England stars Harry Kane and Declan Rice about the life lessons football has taught them, saying he has learnt "disappointment is a part of life”.

Prince William and the World Cup hopefuls discuss their fondest football memories and how the sport has bolstered their mental wellbeing during a 25-minute video available on YouTube.

The episode is hosted by Kelvyn Quagraine and organised by football media company Copa90 with the Royal Foundation.

During their conversation, the prince, a keen Aston Villa fan, highlights the work of Shout, the free and confidential 24/7 text messaging service for people struggling with their mental health.

He said: “You learn by playing a number of times and many other things in life that disappointment is part of life and how you handle it is crucial.

“Handling some of those really disappointing England results in the past, that was hard, I found that really difficult, because again the same euphoria that we had comes crashing down.

“You feel high and all together, and then normal life just gets on again.”

The prince added that he has a “lot of friends” he met through playing football in his youth.

“Some of the greatest friendships are born from playing games and being pushed together in slight adversity,” he said.

Spurs striker Kane remembered his father giving him £5 ($5.68) after he scored his first goal when he was 5 years old, and spoke about the Harry Kane Foundation, which has partnered with Shout.

The England captain said: “I’ve just launched a foundation which is really exciting for me.

“My aim is to, especially to the younger generation, talk to them and try and provide ways of talking about mental health and wellbeing.

“The more we talk about it, and open up, it will definitely help solve and hopefully encourage people not to be afraid to ask for help, especially when you are feeling a little bit lower.”

West Ham captain Rice said that as a child he loved playing football with his older brothers, and explained how England’s loss in the Euros final last year brought the squad closer together.

Speaking about the final against Italy, the England midfielder said: “There was a special moment after that game, the togetherness when we all come in a huddle after we’d lost that, and Gareth said some really important words.

Prince William through the years – in pictures

“As a group, I think that brought us forward together because then we had to qualify for a World Cup in the next round of games.

“We really overcame that setback of losing that final, showed our togetherness and our strength, and I feel that we are in a really good place as a national team that we can keep pushing and getting better because the togetherness we’ve built is really special to be a part of.”

Ed Groves, managing editor at Copa90, said he hoped their conversation would remind people of “the power of talking when dealing with their mental health”.

“As football fans we can experience every emotion possible within 90 minutes,” he said.

“But while we all crave basking in collective glory, we need to remember to support each other through the harder moments – in football and in life.”

Mr Groves encouraged fans to come together to watch Qatar 2022 matches.

Updated: November 07, 2022, 8:54 AM
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