ECHO COMMENT: Premiership stars must watch what they drink - and that's not just the booze
THE country's top footballers continue to be criticised for the example they set the next generation.
Whether it's through their cheating on the pitch, their abuse of each other and referees or their extravagant lifestyles, role models they are not.
The report we carry today on calls for high energy drinks to be banned in youth football, is another reason they should take a long, hard look at themselves.
Both nutritional experts and local coaches say the high levels of caffeine in the drinks are directly affecting youngsters.
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Not only has it made many hyperactive, they have been directly linked to violent mood swings and volatile behaviour.
Remember the fall out from the delayed Poland v England World Cup qualifier last month?
The game was called off at the last minute and then hastily rearranged for the next day. Some players later admitted they had taken caffeine tablets to get their energy levels up before the game and then had to take sleeping pills for them to be able to relax when it was postponed.
There was an outcry but experienced professionals like Rio Ferdinand and Phil Neville went on to Twitter to defend the practice, saying it had been going on for years.
Other players would also no doubt defend their right to promote the top-brand high energy drinks we see advertised on our TVs on a daily basis.
It's time for them to think again. They receive enormous salaries and that is partly because of the television money that comes indirectly from the parents of the boys taking to the pitch for Leckhampton Cheetahs and the like.
They have a responsibility to remember that everything they do could be copied by their young fans. And that includes the "harmless" tablets they take and drinks they drink.