PREMIER League star Matt Jansen has revealed how a hair transplant has boosted his self esteem – after a motorcycle accident many years ago left him crippled by depression.

Former Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers and Crystal Palace striker Jansen was at the height of his powers in the summer of 2002 when he came off a scooter in Rome, Italy.

Having been on the brink of an England call-up, the crash left him in a coma for six days, and as he was subsequently racked by anxiety and self-doubt.

Jansen, 41, documents his struggles in new autobiography What Was, What Is and What Might Have Been.

And the father of three - who hung up his boots up in 2014 - has also revealed how restoring his locks also aided his psychological recovery.

Jansen underwent a transplant at Manchester’s Farjo Hair Institute in November last year.

He says: “I’ve definitely benefited from it. It’s really helped me.

“My confidence has clearly taken a real knock in the past. But doing something like this simply helps you to feel good about yourself. Where’s the harm in that?

“You want to look your best. And for me, a hair transplant is like wearing nice clothes - it’s nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed about.

“You never know how you’d feel if you didn’t have it done, but I definitely feel more confident.

“People might say, ‘Oh, I can’t believe you’ve had a hair transplant’.

“But thankfully, hair transplants are becoming the norm and people are a lot more accepting of them these days.”

Jansen follows in a long line of footballers who’ve had hair transplant surgery - including Wayne Rooney, 33, former Blackburn Rovers star Michael Gray, 45 and current Burnley hotshot Ashley Barnes, 29.

Jansen played 153 times for Blackburn, scoring 44 goals.

Yet he says there was a time in his playing day when his confidence hit rock bottom.

He adds: “I was on the floor, where I used to be ultra confident. And back in 2002, the prevailing view was that if you went to see a psychologist, you were weak. You were stupid. You were ‘crazy’.

“It was, ‘Pull your socks up. What’s wrong with you?’ You’d end up locked in a cycle of depression.

“Nowadays, addressing your mental health is welcomed in the vast majority of cases - and while it’s not perfect, we’re definitely moving in the right direction.

“In many ways, I wish the system that’s in place now was there for me 17 years ago. Would I have been treated differently? Would I have been managed better? And would I have been able to overcome my problems much more quickly?

“I can’t criticise anyone who managed me - it was just the culture of the game at the time. I was arguably brought back too soon, but I’d cost Blackburn a lot of money and no-one could see the ‘injury’ that I was still carrying inside my head. I was hamstrung by self-doubt and it ultimately had a massive impact on my career.”

Last month the Professional Footballers’ Association revealed how record numbers of players are seeking support for anxiety and depression.

Jansen also credits former Bolton boss Sam Allardyce with helping to revolutionise the way player psychology is handled.

He reveals: “We’re miles further forward in terms of looking after the mental health of players now than where we were in 2002.

“And I think Sam Allardyce, who I played for at Bolton in 2006, was one of the pioneers in England.

“He had two psychologists and encouraged everyone in the squad to spend 40 minutes, at least, with them each week. And that was really unusual at the time.

“Some people might label him a ‘dinosaur’ of the game, but he recognised the value in doing that and was one of the first to implement it in the Premier League. He deserves credit for that.

“He also had acupuncturists at the club - basically, anything he could do to give the players an advantage, he’d explore it.”

The PFA say that since January, 355 professionals have accessed therapy - the highest number ever recorded by the end of a season.

The figure for the whole of 2018 was 438, having risen from 160 in 2016.