The Young Gamers & Gamblers Education Trust has announced that former England Under-21 footballer Marvin Sordell has become the charity’s first ambassador.

Sordell, who represented Bolton Wanderers and Burnley in the Premier League, will support YGAM on a voluntary basis to provide valuable insight to inform their education programmes with a focus on mental health.

Lee Willows, chief executive of YGAM, explained: “This is another proud moment for the whole YGAM team. Marvin is an inspiration to many of us and he has done more to raise awareness of mental health than any other footballer.

“Lived experience is at the heart of everything we do, and Marvin brings a very authentic perspective to our work around mental health.

“His superb career in professional football followed by his inspiring work since retiring means Marvin also brings an admirable network that will benefit the charity enormously as we continue to grow our reach and impact in several new areas. 

“The YGAM team have been so impressed with Marvin and we are all very excited to be working with him. I can’t think of better person to become our first ever ambassador and I’m delighted. “

Sordell, who also played for Watford, Coventry and Burton Albion, as well representing Team GB at the 2012 London Olympics, cited mental wellbeing as a major factor behind his retirement from professional football last year at 28.

Following that decision, he has set up a number of businesses and helped raise awareness of issues related to mental health in football.

Sordell said of the announcement: “I’m delighted to become an ambassador for YGAM. This is a fantastic charity led by some inspirational people in Lee, Anne and Keith. I joined the YGAM away day a few months ago and I was blown away by the passion and enthusiasm of everyone that works to deliver their education programmes.

“It’s amazing to see teachers, parents, youth workers and people with lived experience come together to safeguard future generations. It is very pleasing to see education around mental health form such a pivotal part of their resources. I’ve also been really impressed with their collaborations with football club community trusts and I’m looking forward to supporting their great work.”