Wales defender Chris Mepham has explained the innovative reason why he is losing no sleep over facing Spain’s Galacticos.
Mepham’s club Brentford are using a sleep expert to ensure their players get the quality rest required.
And the 20-year-old centre-half says it has made a huge difference to his well-being.
“I must admit I have had problems sleeping,” said Mepham, who is set to come up against former European and world champions when Wales host Spain in a Cardiff friendly on Thursday.
“I wasn’t getting the amount of sleep I needed and it was important for me to speak to someone.
“Luckily the club has brought someone in and that has helped me over the last couple of months.”
Brentford urge players to limit their use of gaming and technology before bedtime.
Players are also encouraged to turn off their screens on journeys home from away matches at night, caffeine intake is checked, and wearable technology monitors daily activity and sleep quality.
“I have tried to take it all on board,” Mepham said.
“I find reading helps rest my mind at night and I don’t play games.
“It is hard to stay off your phone, but I am feeling the benefits.”
Mepham’s rise from Chelsea youth reject and Sunday League football to Championship regular and fully fledged international has been stark.
He had not made a league appearance until the start of last season, but has already been heavily linked with a move to the Premier League with Bournemouth reportedly having had a £10million offer rejected last summer.
Mepham’s elegant style has also drawn comparisons with Manchester City’s England defender John Stones.
“I look at John Stones’ clips as our analyst at Brentford gets them uploaded to a website we have access to,” said Mepham, who could be up against Chelsea striker Alvaro Morata at the Principality Stadium.
“I want to aspire to be like him as he has a similar build to me.
“I would like to think I base myself on being confident on the ball and composed, and playing a team like Spain is going to be good for my development.
“I don’t have the luxury of marking world-class players in the Championship every week, so marking strikers like Morata would be amazing.”
- Press Association