Former Norwich City star Paul McVeigh discusses his first book - The Stupid Footballer is Dead

Paul McVeigh (right) commentating for BBC Radio Norfolk alongside Chris Goreham during the Barclays

Paul McVeigh (right) commentating for BBC Radio Norfolk alongside Chris Goreham during the Barclays Premier League match at the Britannia Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd. - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Former Norwich City player Paul McVeigh has been delving into the world of psychology for a new book entitled The Stupid Footballer is Dead.

The Stupid Footballer is Dead by Paul McVeigh.

The Stupid Footballer is Dead by Paul McVeigh. - Credit: Submitted - April 2013

The book discusses the mental strengths needed to make it as a professional footballer - an area Mr McVeigh feels many modern footballers are not properly prepared for.

Paul McVeigh celebrtaes his goal at Sheffield Wednesday with team mate Alex Notman in December 2011.

Paul McVeigh celebrtaes his goal at Sheffield Wednesday with team mate Alex Notman in December 2011. Photo: Archant library. - Credit: Graham Lynch

Drawing on his 16 years as a professional player, scoring 39 goals in 254 appearances during two spells with the Canaries, having started out at Tottenham Hotspur, Mr McVeigh has written about how an understanding of psychology can benefit footballers.

Paul McVeigh interviewing Wes Hoolahan. Photo: Bill Smith

Paul McVeigh interviewing Wes Hoolahan. Photo: Bill Smith - Credit: Archant © 2011

Mr McVeigh, 35, explained: 'It's something I've always had an interest in, going all the way back to when I was 17 and a very good friend of mine leant me a book by Anthony Robbins, who is a bit of a guru for performing and getting the best out of everything, who has worked with presidents and Navy Seals.'

After that, Mr McVeigh, who now works in the media for BBC Radio Norfolk and Sky Sports, learned more about sports psychology at the University of Roehampton during his time with Tottenham.

Eventually he worked with sports psychologist Keith Mincher, who has worked with the England Under-21 team, and his current business partner Gavin Drake.

Mr McVeigh continued: 'Nigel Worthington brought in Gavin to work with us after we were relegated (from the Premiership in 2005) and he was really brilliant; he helped me a lot.'

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The pair now run sports psychology business Think Pro together, combining Mr McVeigh's practical experience and Mr Drake's theoretical knowledge, and have been working with Norwich City's youth academy.

'We are trying to teach how players can improve their performance on the field,' Mr McVeigh continued. 'When I was a young player at Tottenham I played with some absolutely outstanding players, who were winning world cups for England at under-20, but by 22 or 23 they were out of the professional game.

'That should never have happened; they should be becoming first team players but unfortunately a lot slip off the radar.

'But for me the reason that happens is nine out of 10 in the mind.'

Controversial Italian striker Mario Balotelli, formerly of Manchester City, is one player picked out as an example by Mr McVeigh as one who could be 'the best player in the world' if he could improve his mental preparation for matches.

He says the book, which is available to buy from July 4, is not autobiographical but does refer to examples from his own experience as a professional player.

His main hope is that the book can help players to make the most of their abilities, adding: 'There are three things you need to be a top professional footballer. The first is ability, not just in terms of natural ability but in being able to develop your ability.

'The second is physical. I'm only 5ft 6ins or 7ins, whereas (Manchester City midfielder) Yaya Toure is 6ft 4ins, so obviously there's not much I can do about that.

'The third is having the right mentality. If you have any one of those things, you can be a professional, any two and you can be a very good player, all three then you are basically (England and Liverpool captain) Steven Gerrard.'

For more information about the book, The Stupid Footballer is Dead, go to www.paulmcveigh.co.uk