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Ex-Leicester fullback Simpson: Free agency a tough experience

Former Leicester City fullback Danny Simpson is seeking a new club.

Simpson, 35, is without a club after leaving Championship side Bristol City earlier this year.

"It's hard, but even more so when you have a week off and you don't do it," Simpson told the Manchester Evening News. "I've been to the gym this morning and I know I'll feel ready to attack the day after the session, but then when you're on your own, it's very difficult.

"I saw all my friends go back to their clubs in the summer and it affects you mentally. When you see them back in training, I didn't even want to go on my Instagram because I was sick and tired. I know it sounds bad but I couldn't like their pictures.

"I was struggling mentally and there wasn't much help. I was lucky because eventually I grew a pair of balls and rang Leicester and I asked whether I could come back in and train and they let me, but some people don't have that relationship with clubs.

"You're trying to find a pitch to train on. It's difficult to just go to David Lloyds on a treadmill with people around you, asking 'what are you doing here'. We found a pitch in Knutsford, because Danny Drinkwater knew the owner, but it's difficult for players to find coaches to try and train one-on-one, especially when you're out of contract and not knowing whether anyone will give you a call."

A candid Simpson then laid bare the reality of what it's actually like for some players in football who are out of contract and struggling.

"I've got a WhatsApp group, some who are ex-players and some who haven't retired, and our mates ring each other every other day just to keep each other going, to see they are getting on because we're all in the same boat," Simpson said.

"We don't know what to do. I try to do my punditry and my radio, but it doesn't happen overnight. It's a crazy transition and some that finish football will get a divorce, they might be gambling or drinking, a lot of stuff goes on that people don't really know about.

"Our phones should be ringing. Some people might not have great friends or good relationships with their families, they might not have wives or kids, and they might know what they're doing. The only thing that keeps me going is my little girl.

"I want to keep training and I don't want to fall back into that place. I just think there could be programmes in place, or even courtesy calls, just to check where people are in life. It's not on the clubs that have released you, that club will continue.

"You might have people that keep an eye on you like I've got someone at Leicester, who's the welfare officer called Dale, and she's amazing. She rings me once a week, but I don't think that happens elsewhere. It helps, so I'm sure that can help other people."

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