Preston North End star Robbie Brady happy now but opens up on loss and struggles over recent years

Preston North End wing-back Robbie Brady is back playing every week as a key player and feeling happy again.
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But he has opened up on some of his troubles over recent years.

The Republic of Ireland star, who has earned his way back into the international set-up with his performances at PNE, has struggled with injuries and personal problems over recent years.

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He spent the majority of last season at AFC Bournemouth as the Cherries won promotion to the Premier League, although he had injury troubles on the South Coast.

Preston North End's Robbie Brady during their last game against MillwallPreston North End's Robbie Brady during their last game against Millwall
Preston North End's Robbie Brady during their last game against Millwall

That couldn’t be further from his experience at Deepdale, however, looking sharp again and featuring heavily as a key player.

Speaking to The42 website, Brady said: "Being at Preston and being at home here, that’s sorted my head out because I had a difficult few years.

"It started with injuries and then other stuff off the pitch. I had a bit of a mad year, then I was down to Bournemouth on my own; the kids are here in school. Back up here, I’m happy.

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"When I did get highs in football, that was brilliant but it was only filling a small gap and then it was gone. You chase your whole life looking for those highs, but it’s about finding that balance of being happy.

“As tough as it was being away at Bournemouth, it gave me a lot of time to think. Being back up here puts things in perspective.

"I lost a few people over the last two years, very close to me; one of my aunties, probably the closest person to me outside of my wife and kids.”

Brady had to overcome loss over the past year, whilst away from his family and unable to get regular game time. It is a side of the game that is often not talked about.

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For Brady, he just about managed to say goodbye to his auntie, Maggie Brady, after receiving a phone call from Bournemouth boss Scott Parker.

He said: “The week before I moved down to Bournemouth (in October 2021), I got a phone call saying, ‘You have to get home, there’s nothing more they can do’.

“I couldn’t even book a flight online because it was too late at night.

"So, I shot up to the airport and because of Covid, there was no staff, no one on a desk. There were seats available but there was no one there to get me on a flight.

"I was bouncing off the walls trying to get on a flight.

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“I went home, waited for the red-eye flight, and she hung on until the next morning when I was able to get home.

"I was straight in to see her after getting back. I could see she was hanging on.

“It’s mad, they told her I was coming the night before and I think now until this day that she would have been gone if they hadn’t said I was coming to say goodbye. I literally went in, said goodbye, and within 10 seconds, that was it. Gone. She passed away. That was rough.”

Now fit and back in form – he is on international duty with Ireland this week having made 21 appearances for the Lilywhites so far this season – life has improved dramatically off the pitch too with the help of his wife Kerrie and the support network he has around him.

He said: “ It was a rough few years. I struggled. But I’m back now, I’m happy.”