“THERE would be times when I finished training and I couldn't wait to go and lie in bed. I'd be there for hours. I'd stay there because I didn't want to face the world.”

Former Wales international David Cotterill last week became the latest high-profile footballer to open up about his struggles with depression.

He joins an ever-growing list of players who have been brave enough to talk about their mental health problems.

In the seven years since Gary Speed died, Clarke Carlisle, Aaron Lennon, Chris Kirkland, Danny Rose and countless others have spoken out about their issues.

Former Newport County AFC striker Jon Parkin reveals in his new autobiography Feed The Beast that he was on antidepressants during his miserable time at Cardiff City.

Earlier this year Ben Tozer spoke about his battle with anxiety when he was persona non grata at Rodney Parade under Graham Westley in the 2016-2017 season.

And only last month County legend Lenny Pidgeley was forced into talking about his depression after his club announced the news when he decided to hang up his gloves.

Pidgeley had already suffered difficult periods at Millwall and he found himself in a dark place again just weeks after helping the Exiles to win promotion in 2013, which led him to miss the club’s first two games back in the Football League.

“At Newport it happened in the summer and I couldn't leave my house for two months, I couldn't eat or sleep, I didn't think I could ever face football again,” he told the BBC.

“I met the manager at the time, Justin Edinburgh, and I broke down in tears. I was in such a bad place, Justin was unbelievable with me. I will forever be grateful to him. He just didn't know what I was going through.”

Pidgeley did not choose to make his mental health a public matter but it’s clearly a good thing that so many footballers, and other top athletes, feel they are able to speak about the issue now.

It shows that the world of professional sport is becoming a better place and it means managers like Exiles boss Michael Flynn are looking out for the signs that someone is having a tough time.

Flynn, who played with Pidgeley, was asked about the issue last week after Cotterill’s moving interview with the BBC and it’s clearly something that he takes very seriously.

“My players know my door’s always open,” he said.

“One or two have come to me with problems since I’ve been a manager and they’ve been helped in ways that I can help.

“You can’t just flick a magic wand and make everything go away but they know I’m here to help.

“I’ve been through tough times myself when I was playing and you like to think you’re strong and you can handle it but sometimes you do get down and you do silly things that are out of character and show that you’re not handling it.

“I’ve been through it a little bit but thankfully it didn’t grab hold of me like it does [with others].

“We all have tough times and you never know what people are going through behind closed doors,” he added.

“As a manager you have to be vigilant to understand and know that things aren’t always 100 per cent rosy.

“It helps if you get to know the players and the staff and them getting to know me.

“You’ve got to look out for the tell-tale signs that somebody isn’t quite right and I’m glad that a few players have spoken to me because it shows that they trust me and they think that I can give them some correct advice.”

Tozer praised Flynn for the way he dealt with his problems after replacing Westley in March 2017.

“The gaffer and the club doctor were brilliant,” he told The Sun.

“Only three people at the club knew what I was going through — them and me. The whole thing was kept secret.

“It was so secret I didn’t want to tell any of my team-mates.

“We were fighting for our lives to stay in League Two.

“I’d like to have taken them into my confidence — and I know now that it is a good thing to talk about these problems, which is why I have decided to tell my story now.

“But at the time I was scared if I did tell them it might upset them and take their minds off that fight to stay in the league.”

Football, sport and society in general still has a long way to go in dealing effectively and openly with mental health issues

But the more people do speak out, the easier it will become for those who are suffering to seek help and that can only be a good thing.