When Mick McCarthy talks people listen. The no-nonsense Yorkshireman has a way with words which can only be described as direct.

So when the Republic of Ireland manager talks about how he has seen the football industry deal with mental health it’s worth taking note.

When asked if enough was being done to help players as part of an exclusive interview with UCFB, McCarthy simply said: “Not really, no, I don’t think so. Not at the clubs below the Premier League.”

As he prepares to take the country he managed at the 2002 World Cup into the next round of qualifiers for Euro 2020, McCarthy revisited his memorable six-year spell as Wolves manager and one of his first encounters with a psychologist at a club.

He said: “I have a friend who was brought into the club to work in that sphere and I think he had a fair bit of success. What I learnt from it was that players are prepared to tell somebody that’s not involved in the game, someone that is seen as a mentor or as a counsellor, but they won’t share with me or with the coaches.”

He added: “Some of it was mind-blowing, it was life changing for me. I’ve seen it in other clubs where players are suffering with their mental health and it’s effecting their performance to even just get out on the pitch.”

McCarthy went on to say that he believes his age and experience in the game – he’s played and managed in the Premier League and at World Cups – gives him the tools to help his players when required.

He added: “I keep saying that getting old gives me an insight I think I didn’t have when I was 32 and I took my first management job. I recognise things better and accept there are issues in football that when I was younger I’d have said ‘ah get on with it’. I’m now a father and a grandfather and I’m better able and better equipped to recognise it and actually do something about it.”

This year saw the launch of the Heads Up initiative, a joint venture by The FA and The Royal Foundation’s Heads Together campaign, to promote mental fitness. Fronted by the Duke of Cambridge, Heads Up hopes to use football to inspire conversation on mental health.