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Sunday, January 24, 1999 Published at 11:20 GMT

Collymore receives 'stress counselling'

Collymore has had a catalogue of problems throughout his career

Aston Villa's Stan Collymore intends to seek counselling to help him overcome "pressures and stress".

In a statement issued in response to Collymore's non-appearance for Villa's FA Cup clash with Fulham on Saturday, the club said: "Stan Collymore has made it clear that pressures and stress have been building up for a long period of time, which culminated in the decision by the club not to consider him fit to play on Saturday.

"Following this, Stan has declared that he wishes to seek further counselling to help him overcome his current difficulties.

"Following extended meetings throughout the day with both Stan and his representative, the manager and board of directors of Aston Villa FC have expressed their desire to help Stan through his current problems as it would with any of its employees."

Collymore out for Newcastle

Villa manager John Gregory has insisted the England striker will definitely not be in his team to play Newcastle next weekend.

Reports suggested the 7m man stormed out of Villa Park after discovering he had been left on the bench, with Paul Merson picked to replace the injured Dion Dublin up front.

But Collymore's agent Paul Stretford dismissed the speculation, claiming the ex-Liverpool player declared himself not well enough to play after consulting a member of Villa's medical team.

'Some can cope better than others'

Gregory said: "Stan would have been in the squad of 16 without any doubt, but due to unforseen circumstances it was decided on the morning of the game that we should let him stay away.

[ image: John Gregory (kneeling) sees Kevin Keegan's Fulham win 2-0]
John Gregory (kneeling) sees Kevin Keegan's Fulham win 2-0
"We had to crack on without him. Most players go off in a bit of a huff if they're not in the starting line-up but some can cope with it better than others.

After an encouraging start to the season Collymore's form slumped and he found himself out of the side in recent weeks, as Julian Joachim partnered Dublin in attack.

Last week, after again being selected as a substitute, he hit out at Gregory, insisting he was worthy of a place in the team and was unhappy at playing a "peripheral part".

Collymore's catalogue of problems

The disappearance of Collymore is just the latest episode in a high-profile career that has been dogged by controversy.

He was fined 20,000 at Liverpool for not attending training and eventually left the club amid claims of bust-ups with his team-mates.

In March 1998 he accused Liverpool's Steve Harkness of racist abuse in Villa's 2-1 home victory. And he was sent off for a shocking foul on the same player when the two sides met this season.

Last June during the World Cup he was involved in an altercation with his then girlfriend, TV presenter Ulrika Jonsson, in a bar in Paris. He publicly apologised and announced that he was "beside himself with remorse".

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