England forward Danny Welbeck has revealed a reading list including Mike Tyson’s autobiography and motivational manual ‘Relentless’ has made him a stronger person on and off the pitch.
Welbeck will be heading to this summer’s World Cup with the Three Lions and has more reason than most to look forward to it, having missed out on Euro 2016 due to a knee injury which ended up sidelining him for eight months.
The Arsenal frontman admits his lay-off was a major setback, both professionally and psychologically, but has emerged with a measured outlook that could serve him well as England take on the world in Russia.
“Missing out on the last tournament with injury was frustrating for me,” he said.
“If you get a big injury, it is not easy at all to deal with it. It’s a lonely period when you’re not out on the pitch helping your team-mates and doing what you love doing.
“But there are things you can take from it, learn from it, learn about yourself. You can develop mentally when you away from the pitch. You can take all that frustration, pain and hurt from not playing football and try and use that as a way of helping you and reminding you of what you are missing out on.”
And for Welbeck, that meant soaking up inspiration wherever he could find it.
“Straight after surgery I couldn’t put weight on my leg for two months so I was just sitting round reading books and stuff like that.
“I read more books then than I did when I was in school. I liked Relentless,” he said, namechecking the self-help book by Tim Grover – a former confidant of Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.
“I really enjoyed it and that definitely helped me through that period, it talks about being injured as a sportsman and an athlete and making your way back in to the game.
“I like the Mike Tyson one too. He’s a fighter, a mad man. You fight for competition in sports and you kind of see in different athletes different mentalities and you take bits from each one.”
Now fully fit, Welbeck’s next challenge will be finding a way into Gareth Southgate’s side.
He has made just three substitute appearances under Southgate, totalling less than 45 minutes of football, and will be hoping to add to that when Nigeria visit Wembley on Saturday.
Despite that he remains the top-scorer in the squad, with 15 strikes in 37 caps, indicating an apparent comfort with the rhythms of the international game.
“I haven’t pointed that out to him the manager, he knows all the ins and outs but that is something I want to build on,” he said.
“I have had a lot of success on the international stage and I want that to continue. I won’t be resting on my laurels.”
Brazil star Neymar is getting fitter every day as the striker recovers from a broken foot, Brazil teammate Danilo said from their pre-World Cup training camp in London on Wednesday.
The Paris Saint Germain forward was injured in February and is yet to play a match since then, with two weeks to go before the World Cup kicks off in Russia.
“He’s getting better every day, getting faster, more agile and more difficult to defend against,” said Manchester City’s Danilo, who knows Neymar from his Santos days.
“He’s so fast you wouldn’t know whether to go, left, right, forwards or backwards,” Danilo said of Neymar’s trickery.
“We hope he’ll be 100% ready or as ready as is possible.”
Brazil play Croatia at Liverpool June 3 and against Austria in Vienna on June 10 before their opening World Cup game with Switzerland June 17.
Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick to power Argentina to a 4-0 victory in their World Cup warm-up match against Haiti – and said lifting the World Cup would be the nation’s “dream”.
The Barcelona forward fired a penalty into the back of the net to open the scoring after 17 minutes, before taking his second 12 minutes into the second half.
Messi completed the triple – and scored his 64th international goal – with a tap-in past Haiti keeper Johny Placide after 65 minutes.
Two minutes later, Sergio Aguero rounded of the scoring, driving the ball into the bottom left-hand corner following a pass from Messi.
It was a convincing – if not surprising – win for a team ranked fifth in the world, 103 places above their opponents.
Nevertheless, the victory will boost fans’ hopes that Messi can lead two-time champions Argentina to glory in Russia.
Following the match, Messi was quoted by the Argentina football Association’s website as saying: “I have no doubt that we are going to grow. We have time.
“The World Cup is our dream, the dream of the country.
“We’re going to leave everything in the World Cup.”
Argentina manager Jorge Sampaoli said the team still had some improvements to make ahead of the tournament, but added that his side had proved their dominance against Haiti.
The team will now head to Barcelona for a training camp before a final warm-up match against Israel next month.