Aston Villa defender Jan Bednarek reveals mental health struggles forced his Southampton exit

Jan Bednarek revealed he felt “tired and angry” at Southampton before completing his season-long loan move to Aston Villa.

The Poland international, who has been called up for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, said his mental health was the primary motivation for a move away from the south coast. 

In an interview with Meczyki, he said: "Staying at Southampton, I was definitely in a worse place mentally. I needed it [move away]. I was coming back home tired and angry. I wasn't my real self. Now, the old Janek is back. I'm happy and content."

Since arriving at Aston Villa, the player has struggled for game time, racking up a mere two Premier League appearances.

The centre-back has played a total of 87 minutes of competitive football this season and will head for the World Cup having not played a full 90-minute match since September.

Bednarek has remained on the bench despite the recent managerial change at Villa Park.

Former Arsenal boss Unai Emery replaced Steven Gerrard earlier this month, though the Polish defender is yet to get his opportunity under the Spaniard.

Despite this, Bednarek revealed he is happy and believes the loan move was his only option.

He said: "I was working with a psychologist. He helped me a lot. A change of club was the only solution. I didn't make that decision myself. Close ones and experts helped me.

"I don't want to say whether it was depression. Maybe it was. We didn't try to look for a diagnosis. We tried to find a solution.

"People have worse problems than me, but this was my problem. Of course, time heals wounds and in this moment, things are better and I'm moving forward. I'm happy."

Bednarek will be hoping to get some game time when Poland take on Chile in a friendly on November 16.

The national side will then depart for Qatar before taking on Mexico in the group opener on November 22.

READ MORE: Unai Emery wants Aston Villa to focus on climbing Premier League table

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