A FOOTBALL fanatic has started his own team to give people with disabilities and mental health struggles a safe space in which to play the beautiful game.

Liam Turner, 19, of Clacton, has ADHD and also battles depression and anxiety, which previously left him feeling without a sense of self and in a dark place.

The former Clacton Coastal Academy student and budding Lionel Messi previously played for a football team in Harwich before it unfortunately folded.

He has since decided to launch his own eight-a-side football team specifically for future soccer stars who have a disability or struggle with their mental health.

Liam is hoping Tendring Rovers FC will be able to play in the Essex FA Soccerability League, but he first has to recruit some new players.

Liam said: “I used to play for a disability team and I really enjoyed the idea of it and there is so much more we could have.

“So, I decided to start this football team to raise awareness for mental health and disabilities and to bring the minority together who want to play but are too nervous.

“Football can definitely help relieve stress when it is does right with the right people and it can be one of the most therapeutic hobbies for anyone who loves sport.

“I believe it will make people feel much more comfortable and happier because a football team can be like your second family.”

Having found solace in football, Liam is now on the mend and slowly but surely overcoming his mental health struggles.

“My depression and anxiety had a massive effect on me a few years ago, I was very sick and not in the right state of mind,” said Liam.

“I lost myself a bit and it was a frightening experience, as it took the Liam I knew and changed me massively – I lost a lot of personality traits.

“But it has been a journey and it has all benefited me in the weirdest of ways, because today I am on the right road to find me again.”

To find out more about Tendring Rovers visit facebook.com/tendringroversfc, call Liam on 07400157118 or email tendringrovers@gmail.com.