Oscar Threlkeld: Plymouth Argyle defender confronts his mental health issues

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Oscar Threlkeld: Plymouth Argyle defender confronts mental health issues

"I didn't really get out of the house, I was just stuck there watching TV and sometimes not even with the TV on, just looking at four walls."

Oscar Threlkeld seemed to have it all - he had just moved from League One Plymouth Argyle to Belgian top-flight side Beveren.

But after a spell out of the team he found himself struggling with his mental health and has now returned to the Pilgrims on loan until the summer.

"A lot of players seem OK, but inside their head they're not really OK," the 24-year-old told BBC South West.

Threlkeld played the first two games of the season - a 0-0 draw with Standard Liege and a 4-1 loss away to Gent - but then fell out of favour under then manager Yannick Ferrera.

Talking through his problems

Oscar Threlkeld (right) battles for the ball
Oscar Threlkeld (right) has not played a game since the middle of August

When Ferrera was replaced by Adnan Custovic, Threlkeld thought he had a chance to get back in the side.

"I started to get myself back to that mental state where I could improve myself and in his first morning training session I injured myself, so I was out for two or three weeks," Threlkeld explained.

"The team started winning. I can't complain as a manager can't change a winning team, so January came up and now I'm here and I can't wait to get started."

More unhappiness followed, but Threlkeld says talking his problems through with a professional helped him recover.

"I had a guy call Durell who really helped me out there. We had a session once a week for maybe just an hour, just to talk about things at home," the Bolton-born full-back added.

"I wasn't missing home because I'd been here (Plymouth) four times. It was more game-time related than anything else. I think if he wasn't there I don't think I'd have been able to come out of it."

Plymouth 'feels like home'

Earlier this month, Threlkeld signed for Argyle for a third time. He initially joined the club on loan from Bolton in August 2015 and stayed for the rest of the season, before making the move permanent the following summer.

In his loan season at Argyle the club reached the League Two play-off final at Wembley where they lost to AFC Wimbledon.

In his first spell as a full-time player the Pilgrims got automatic promotion to the third tier, while last season they almost made the play-offs.

"I just can't get enough of this place. It feels like home," he said. "I know the surroundings, I know the fans and I know most of the lads.

"I wouldn't say it's comfortable, it's more second nature and I enjoy it."