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Aaron Lennon’s health top priority, says Everton boss Koeman

London (AFP) – Everton will give winger Aaron Lennon all the time he needs to recover from his mental health problems, manager Ronald Koeman said on Thursday.

England international Lennon, 30, was detained by police on Sunday over fears for his welfare and Everton said he was being treated for a “stress-related illness”.

Lennon has since received widespread support from within the football community and Koeman said Everton’s top priority was ensuring he returns to full health.

“As you know, the club mentioned that Aaron had a stress-related illness and it is a private situation,” Koeman told reporters at his weekly press conference.

“We try to give him all the support (to enable) him to come back as soon as possible.

“We have contact with him and his family and I think it is best we keep it inside between club, the player and his family.

“We would like to see him back, but what is important now is for him to be like he was. Life, health, is more important than football.”

Koeman acknowledged that there are now greater pressures on players than during his own playing days, but he believes support networks have evolved as well.

“The whole social media is different than it was 20 years ago and of course that is more pressure,” said the former Barcelona and Netherlands centre-back.

“More football, more games, international football — that is really tough for players.

“We try always with every individual player to help him to improve as a football player.

“If we feel there are some problems in mental health or other issues, then we have enough people working in the club to help players with these kind of problems.”

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