Former Stags star’s one regret

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Although delighted with his overall career, former Mansfield Town defender Bobby Hassell believes he could have been a Premier League regular had he learned to be more professional at a younger age.

Modern day football is centered on strict diets and fitness regimes with sports science at its centre – lights years away from the drinking/smoking footballers of yesteryear.

“I have had an absolutely fantastic career,” said Hassell, now head of recruitment at Barnsley’s academy.

“But I do wish I’d been more professional at a younger age as I believe I would have gone on and had a much better career.

“I didn’t really kick in with that professionalism probably until I was 24/25 and that first year in the Championship.

“You realise what a massive step in professionalism you’ve made with the pace of the game, so I had to be a lot fitter.

“I stopped drinking then, my diet improved dramatically then sports science started kicking in about then.

“I think if that had been around then I do believe I would have had a much better career, maybe moved a bit earlier, and possibly had a spell in the Premier League just to prove I could actually play there.”

He continued: “But I had 10 years in the Championship playing against some world class players.

“I played at Wembley twice, obviously I was promoted twice, I played in an FA Cup semi-final beating Liverpool and Chelsea in that run.

“Now I am hoping as academy manager at Barnsley I can pass that experience on and try to educate the young players of today that they need to be professional from 16 or 17 from the minute they walk into the building so they can maximise their potential.”