I went from fearless Premier League star to nothing – I felt worthless and lost family after I was stabbed in the back | The Sun

JERMAINE JENAS felt absolutely 'WORTHLESS' after his retirement from football – which was followed by a swindling from family members.

The former England and Tottenham midfielder hung up his boots in January 2016 – nearly two years after rupturing his ACL while at Queens Park Rangers.

And the transition from playing in front of thousands of people every week to having all the time in the world on his hands was a difficult one for the 40-year-old.

During an appearance on the Learning, As I Go podcast, Jenas admitted: "I felt like I was just worthless in the house.

"I'd gone from being Jermaine Jenas the footballer, walking in every day with your chest out, to nothing.

"As a young footballer, I was fearless. I'm in the tunnels with like [Patrick] Vieira, [Robert] Pires, [Thierry] Henry.


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"And I'm like: 'This is nuts! I was literally watching these guys two minutes ago.'"

Jenas set up Aquinas Education – a scheme that offers football tickets to absent students at disadvantaged schools if they achieve perfect attendance – after his retirement.

The business – which initially focused on Nottingham-based kids – has been a successful one and has since branched out to London schools.

Although it wasn't all sunshine and rainbows in the early days.

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He said: "You don't make it that long unless you've been through certain experiences. We've had almost every experience.

'People trying to rob us blind, people who worked for us as well. I've had people really close to me betray me.

"And yeah, it's been very hurtful at times, that side of it. I've lost family members along the way, which has been one of the hardest things I've had to deal with.

"For me, a nice people-person, I try and bring people along with me.

"I've taken people out of difficult situations in their own lives where they were less fortunate, and brought them in, trained them, given them a great wage – and for them to stab you in the back was quite tough at the time."

Jenas has also found success on the screen following his retirement – becoming a regular on Match of the Day and the BBC's footy coverage.

But his status as a former Premier League footballer and a celeb has led many clients to question his role at Aquinas.

Jenas said: "The biggest question I still get asked to this day is: 'What are you doing here?'.

"Any kind of investors coming in, they'll ask: 'What do you bring to the table?'. But I think it's a fair question.

"They're thinking "I'm in an education recruitment business and I've got Jermaine Jenas sitting in front of me. He's not going to be in the office every week, so what's he doing?

"I just tell them the story, my interest in the business, my value to the business, my day-to-day involvement. Me and my best friend speak every single day about the business.

"I've had imposter syndrome so often in my career and in my life that I know how to manage it now.

"I feel quite calm in my life and quite peaceful now. And I think, if you've got that, you're rich.'

"But one of the things I've prided myself on is my close friends. I have two best friends and we've been close forever.

"One of them is Vaughan, he's just come out of the army, and the other is Craig Anderson, who I started my business with.

"He came to me in 2008-09 and I was at an age where I was already starting to think about life post-football.

"He came to me for investment – he didn't need to, I'd have given him the money for free – but said he had this idea about education.

"And I thought this was great as I could go back into schools and give something back.

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"And in time, I started getting into the business side of things and really enjoyed it, how to develop a business, how to grow it and how to be a people person.

"My mate even sent me into a school once as a teaching assistant!"

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