According to The Telegraph, Arsenal have hired the services of the forensic psychiatrist credited with helping the All Black rugby team end their 24-year wait for a World Cup success.
Dr Ceri Evans began working with the Kiwis in 2010 and was an integral part of their set-up in both 2011, when they won on home turf, and last year when they were victorious in England.
The 53-year-old has a background in football having captained New Zealand during the 80s and 90s. Speaking in an interview with Leaders in Sport, Evans recently explained why it is certain organisations choose to call on his expertise.
“The starting point is that it’s by invitation. I’ve never advertised. What happens is that people become aware of the fact I have a sporting background and an interest in sport, as well as I have skills in the mental area. That’s what they are most interested in.
“That’s what they are most interested in. People put two and two together and don’t necessarily get four, but they make an assumption that this will be relevant for what they do.
“The idea about the forensic aspect, is that things go wrong in that area and people usually come to me when things are going wrong for them; losses, slumps, form not so good, disputes, disruptions, conflicts. They feel I might have something to offer in that area.”
It’s not particularly hard to see how that might apply to elite level footballers, both on an individual and team level. Of course, the use of sports psychologists isn’t unusual in top level football. The Gunners already have an in-house specialist, David Priestley, who has been working with the club for two and a half years having previously worked with Saracens rugby club.
You’d expect no stone to be left unturned by Arsene Wenger, who himself has spoken openly about the importance of ensuring every little detail is taken care when helping young and new players settle and integrate in new environments.
Arseblog News likes to think that having a man with All Black experience on the team was integral in dealing with Charlie Adam and the Orcs yesterday.