Jermaine Pennant says wild nights and booze led to ‘mistakes’ in football career

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Former Liverpool winger Jermaine Pennant has opened up about his tumultuous career as a Premier League player.

The former England international, 39, spoke to GB News about his time as a professional, where he touched on the going out and drinking culture that comes with it being a famous athlete. The ex Arsenal star said: "When you're young you can have a few here or there and get away with it, but if you want to be at the top of your game, you have got to be professional. You have got to stick with the elites.

"And like I said, me not having that guidance from when I was young, I was easily led astray. I have never had an addictive personality, but the drinks certainly did leave me with some mistakes. The presenter then asked: "You won't be the first footballer to succumb to the pressures of a nightclub, will you?"

"No – and I certainly won't be the last," said Pennant. "But again, and I keep saying it, but not having that guidance. And when I was frustrated, it was when I was not playing. When I was not playing, I got so frustrated that the next thing that could take my mind off it was 'go out'.

The presenter then posed to him: "And there is no incentive to keep yourself mentally in check because you're not playing next Saturday?"

Do you think Pennant would have made it in today's game? Let us know in the comments section below.

"Yeah, exactly and that was one of my faults which I do regret is not staying professional because that chance could have come like that," replied Pennant. "And then you have the coach thinking, 'he's taking his eye off the ball and going out a little bit too much'."

"Rather than being professional, being like how the elite athletes do now. Concentrate and get your head done: maybe that chance might have come even quicker."

The talented midfielder was born in Nottingham, starting with Notts County. He was snapped up by Arsenal in 1999 but struggled to make an impact at the side, being shipped out on loan at Watford, Leeds United and Birmingham City.

In 2005 he had to play a game while on probation, wearing an electronic tag following a drink-driving conviction. In 2006, Pennant signed for Liverpool for a fee of £6.7 million, where he played in the Champions League final in Athens in 2007, only to end up on the losing side against AC Milan.

He soon went to Portsmouth on loan before leaving to join the Spanish side Real Zaragoza in 2009. He retired in 2017 after playing in 13 league matches for Billericay Town.

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