Lyle Foster: Burnley striker in care of specialists over mental health issue

Lyle Foster

Burnley top scorer Lyle Foster is in the care of specialists after the recurrence of a mental health issue.

Foster, 23, first spoke about suffering with depression in July and has reached out to the club again for support.

Clarets manager Vincent Kompany said no timeframe has been put on Foster's return to the team.

Burnley said: "Recently, Lyle let us know that he continues to live with issues around his mental wellbeing and has reached out for help."

The club statement was released "on behalf of Lyle Foster and his family" to "share with you an update on Lyle's illness".

It added: "He is currently in the care of specialists - giving him the support and care he needs to help him back to full health.

"With the love and support of his family and everyone at Burnley Football Club, we will do all we can to provide everything he needs to get better."

They asked people to "respect Lyle's privacy", adding they "will not be making any more comment until further notice".

Striker Foster has played eight league and cup games for Kompany's side this season, scoring three goals and providing two assists, with his last appearance coming in the 3-0 loss at Brentford on 21 October.

He has also played four times for his national side this campaign.

In an interview with South African radio station MSW earlier this year, Foster spoke about his time at Belgian side Westerlo, where he played between August 2021 and January 2023.

"I was in my apartment all by myself. I realised I just felt this huge sense of loneliness," he said.

"I felt like I couldn't really express myself with all of my team-mates. It was a lot more difficult to be around them and do things footballers are supposed to do.

"I just used to try and go to training, play games and honestly the best thing to do at that time of my life was to go back home and sleep. There was no real excitement or looking forward to anything.

"That's when I realised I was in some trouble and I panicked a little bit. I didn't know what was going on or how to deal with it because it was the first time I was in a position like that."

Mental health 'not taboo' any more

Boss Kompany says speaking up about mental health is "not a taboo" any more and Foster was at "breaking point" before reaching out for help.

Speaking to the club's in-house media, Kompany said: "We were very fortunate that Lyle had been very open with us. From that moment we could act, as soon as he said it and showed signs of how severe it was for him.

"The entire support team within the club mobilised and made sure he could focus on his own recovery. In moments like this, we have to put the human first.

"Where Lyle is lucky is that he has a very good network around him. He has a very healthy supportive family and a club and people who want to help him - not just for the player he is, but for the person he is.

"We will provide the best care in the world possible to get him over his mental health issues. That is not a taboo any more, if people speak up about it they do get help."

According to the charity Mind, one in four people will experience a mental health problem of some kind each year in England.

But Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) say that number increases with professional footballers, as more than 75% have experienced some kind of mental health issue.

Kompany added: "We are in an environment in football which does not necessarily take that into consideration. When you go out there to compete and have the noise around the game, people love it and have an opinion, but the arena is not designed to protect your mental wellbeing.

"You do get exposed to quite a lot of things and as a part of it you are going about things in your own way.

"Support for mental wellbeing in England is at a very high standard. The country and the league is at the forefront of what is being done to provide care for people.

"We are doing everything we can to get him to a place where he enjoys what he is doing and that is playing football as soon as possible. At this moment in time, he is one of us and we have to look after our own."