On World Mental Health Day, Brentford sports psychologist Michael Caulfield has detailed his work with the Bees and how important the cognitive side of football is.

Caulfield, who has worked in professional sport for over 25 years, is usually seen chatting to a player or a member of staff at the Robert Rowan Performance Centre, alongside his trusty sidekick, Paisley.

And he has discussed the impact of relaxed, one-on-one discussions with the squad, which can help them to 'optimise their potential' ahead of a Premier League matchday.

“There are many ideas out there now, in terms of our well-being and our health, but I've still yet to find one that beats the power of powerful, private and trusting conversation, coupled with rest and sleep," Caulfield said.

“If you can get the player and staff care correct, there's every chance that you can optimise the potential of the people who then have to go and do the hard bit, which is cross the white line and play in front of a global audience on a weekly basis.”

Caulfield works closely with the majority of the squad, but one player he has spent a lot of time with over the last 12 months is forward Keane Lewis-Potter, during his injury rehabilitation over the summer.

And the 22-year-old has stated how getting in the right headspace by talking to Caulfield gives him a boost to perform to the best of his ability.

“When you feel right mentally, you feel confident and happy. You go on to the pitch and, to be honest, you feel like a different player," Lewis-Potter explained.

“You could maybe speak to some psychologists and sit in a room, fill out a form but, for me personally, I wouldn’t get anything out of that. 

“But going for a walk, usually twice a week, it’s just general talk about how the week’s gone. Being able to just get that out when you’re walking around, it’s so much easier. With Michael, it just feels natural.” 

Caulfield added: “Trust is so important because any athlete has to trust the people he or she is working with. First, build trust, you can then build rapport, you can build empathy, you can build understanding, and then a moment appears.

“It could be in the treatment room, or having a coffee in this wonderful new Performance Centre, and that's your moment to start or continue your conversation.

“It might not work in all walks of life, but in elite performance, where you are scrutinised and measured almost every day of your life, that helps.

“I would urge anyone in any walk of life, if they want to protect and build their mental health, to get the basics and the simple, natural things right."