Former England captain Dave Watson has neurodegenerative disease

Disease ‘most likely’ result of concussions and heading ball
Watson shone as Sunderland won the FA Cup in 1973

The former England captain Dave Watson features a neurodegenerative disease that was “most likely” brought on by head injuries and repeated heading of the ball during his playing days, his wife has said during a statement released to the PA press agency .

Penny Watson says that the 73-year-old’s consultant thinks that it’s “in all probability Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy” – the disease determined because the explanation for former West Brom striker Jeff Astle’s death in 2002.

Watson shone as Sunderland won the FA Cup in 1973 and helped Manchester City to League Cup glory three years later during a career that saw him play for a spread of clubs and represent his country on 65 occasions.

The former defender are going to be inducted into Sunderland’s Hall of Fame next month –ahead of which wife Penny has revealed he’s handling a neurodegenerative disease. during a statement released to the PA press agency , she said: “Now looks like the proper time to tell you that for several years my husband Dave Watson, former England football international player and captain, has been battling a neurodegenerative disease.

“His consultant has concluded that the condition Dave is now living with is altogether probability Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) – presumably caused by Dave’s many head injuries, including severe concussions, and repeated heading of the ball.

“Dave has good days and bad days. He endeavours to still live and luxuriate in a traditional life, as best as possible, however almost a day we are confronted with a replacement challenge. If you encounter him at a match or elsewhere, please don’t be afraid to interact with him. Understand that he might not be ready to converse within the way he once did, but he still likes to mention football and share amusing .

“Please be considerate if he’s having a nasty day and struggling. This disease plays tricks on his memory, so he might not be ready to remember accurately, and he may find signing autographs a challenge. The last item Dave wants is to be treated pityingly . He has always been a fighter, as those of you who watched him play know but this is often one battle Dave cannot win.

“Even though things haven’t ended up as we both planned, Dave doesn’t regret pursuing his passion, doing what he loved – playing football. We shall not be doing interviews at this point and hope you respect that call .”

Watson represented Sunderland, Manchester City, Werder Bremen, Southampton and Stoke during his time as an England player, having made his debut during a friendly against Portugal in 1974 at the age of 27. The Nottinghamshire-born defender was 35 when he won his 65th and final cap.

In October, a study commissioned by the Football Association and therefore the Professional Footballers’ Association found that former footballers are approximately three and a half times more likely to die from neurodegenerative disease than the overall population.

The first a part of the sector study, conducted by the University of Glasgow, assessed the medical records of seven ,676 men who played football in Scotland between 1900 and 1976.

This week, the FA’s head of drugs Dr Charlotte Cowie said the explanations for footballers being at increased risk are going to be the first focus of future research.

Age-appropriate limits on the quantity of heading under-18s neutralize training are set to be introduced by the FA.

The PA press agency understands the rules , which are still to be finalised, will place some restrictions on heading in youth football in England to deal with health fears concerning the impact of heading balls.

Football around Europe: 10 things to look out for this weekend

Farke faces defensive dilemma for Liverpool, Forest need their best XI, Chelsea’s women eye treble and a six-pointer in Austria.

Leeds are falling apart. Maybe. But here’s the thing: anyone who beats them finishes up falling apart too. None of the eight teams who have gotten the higher of Marcelo Bielsa’s men in Championship this season have won their subsequent match – seven of them have lost it. Nottingham Forest were the newest to seek out that beating Bielsa’s side takes an important toll, as on the rear of last weekend’s 2-0 win at the town Ground, they flopped to a home defeat by Charlton. But they’re still only two points off the automated promotion places and will foil West Brom’s plan to shy away at the highest again by winning at the Hawthorns on Saturday. to try to to that, Sabri Lamouchi would be advised to reverse the changes he made for the Charlton game and deploy the lineup that beat Leeds, assuming Lewis Grabban, Samba Sow and Sammy Ameobi have overcome the knee problems that forced them to miss the midweek match. PD

• West Bromwich Albion v Nottingham Forest: Saturday, 12.30pm (all times GMT)

Ben Godfrey played every minute of Norwich’s first 17 league games at centre-back, before sustaining a comparatively minor knee ligament injury against Leicester in December. He missed five games, and therefore the entire festive schedule, but on returning to fitness was thrown straight back to the starting XI alongside Christoph Zimmermann for the club’s last home fixture, the 1-0 win against Bournemouth, whereupon he was promptly sent off and made to take a seat out another two matches. The last of these , a goalless draw at Newcastle, featured an assured defensive display from a rearguard during which Zimmerman was paired with Grant Hanley, and therefore the team’s only clean sheet all season that didn’t come against Bournemouth. Daniel Farke must therefore decide whether to bring back the 22-year-old Godfrey, persist with the experienced Hanley, or perhaps play all of them at an equivalent time. Farke did experiment with a back three in pre-season but last used it during a competitive game nearly two years ago, and if there’s any opponent who will ruthlessly expose any defensive uncertainty it’s Liverpool. SB

• Norwich City v Liverpool: Saturday, 5.30pm

The Austrian Bundesliga resumes after its winter break on Friday night with an absolute cracker, pitting first against second in what could come to be seen as a premature title decider. Should Lask be defeated at RB Salzburg they might be five points and an honest chunk of goal difference behind, and stuck chasing a side that haven’t lost within the league all season; should they win they might lead by some extent , and therefore the race is on. they need done well to remain within touching distance of a fearsome Salzburg side who have scored 29 more goals than their closest domestic rivals in just 18 matches, but while Lask have the advantage of consistency the leaders have lost Erling Braut Haaland (to Dortmund), Takumi Minamino (Liverpool) and therefore the centre-back Marin Pongracic (Wolfsburg) since their last league game and this might be the perfect time to face them.