Published: 06:00, 01 May 2020
There’s more than one hero in the Barry Fuller household.
The Gillingham defender has twice captained winning teams at Wembley but his NHS-working wife Laura is quite rightly getting the praise for her work too.
She works in the maternity department at the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford.
Fuller said: “It is hard for her, like it is for any NHS staff, key workers and care workers, they are going to work to save lives and help people. There is a risk they may come home and give something to their families and when people talk about heroes, that is what they are.
“They are putting their own health at risk to help others, it is amazing and great that they are getting all the praise and the limelight.
“It is nice to see all of those workers getting the credit that they deserve, especially with the situation we are in at the minute, but we have taken our NHS for granted a bit. I think people appreciate how hard they work.”
Despite the football shut down, there is no lack of action in the Fuller household, especially with a football crazy middle child.
“I have played more football since I have been off than I do normally,” said the 35-year-old father-of-three. “I might get to sit down and have a cup of tea and watch a programme but she will come in and say ‘come on Dad, the sun’s out, let’s get back out there!’
“They all watch these Youtube videos and stuff and go out and want to copy these skills. She has learned four or five new tricks that she can do quite comfortably during this lockdown. She has been showing me how to do some of them!
“We have been doing some bits in the garden. You aren’t going to see any double step overs or anything from me when we come back but it is nice to have a feel of a football. It is nice to be able to do that in the garden, just to take your mind off what is going on and for them to take the mind off it too.”
With children aged nine, 11 and 14, there is plenty of home schooling going on but Fuller readily admits it’s not his strong point.
“It isn’t really me to be honest,” he said. “Laura is really intelligent, she has been getting A stars since primary school. Academy wasn’t my strong point.
“The odd days when I am doing it I swear I had never learned some of it. It has changed so much, it is crazy, but they can all help each other out too.”
Fuller will be much more at home when they can get back out on the pitch. Hopes are that the Gills will be back in action in June.
For now, the players are keeping conditioned at home but Fuller knows the mental side of the game will be tougher for some than the physical.
He said: “We have our own WhatsApp group and the odd Zoom meeting for a bit of interaction but at the minute the same sort of things comes up, like ‘when are we going to go back.’
“This weekend would have been the last of the season, we would have been at the end of it. It is a matter of sitting tight, staying safe and well and if that time comes when we get the go ahead we need to be prepared and not just physically, I think it is tougher mentally with the situation we are in.
“Mental health is a big thing and mentally some people could struggle. It is massive, not just football, it has been made very public to the whole nation about people talking if they are struggling.
“Boys will generally tick over in the off season but in the situation we are in it is about making sure the boys are stable enough to cope with this and get going. People might be worried about whether we are coming back, being out of contract, so much, but you have to put it into perspective. We are here, safe and well and we just have to deal with things when they come.
“We are healthy and well and we have to be thankful for that.”
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