Former St Mirren playmaker Tony Andreu reckons it's VITAL for footballers to learn a trade or go into higher education to ensure they still have a comfortable life after the game.

The coronavirus pandemic has shaken the foundation of the sport around the world with players everywhere losing their jobs. Only recently did Dunfermline and Queen of the South release a whopping combined 33 players from their respective rosters.

A seriously harsh reality which has hit home due to the Covid-19 outbreak, and Andreu hopes players in Scotland and beyond will take the opportunity now to consider life after football - which could, unfortunately, come around a lot quicker for some.

The Frenchman, 32, recently departed the Simple Digital Arena at the expiry of his one-year contract. But despite the uncertainty of the pandemic, Andreu insists he has no regrets about turning down a more stable two-year deal which would have given him more security.

No, the ex-Norwich City and Dundee United midfielder is confident in his own abilities and always fancied trying his hand at playing abroad - with the plan always to leave the Buddies after one year, no matter the circumstances. "St Mirren offered me a two-year deal at the beginning of the season but I wanted to sign for one year because my ambition was to play overseas next season," he told H&T Sport. 

"I still have that ambition, so we'll see. The current lockdown has shook everything but it is where I am at the moment, but I don't know what the future might bring. I don't have any regret [at not taking option of second year]. My time at St Mirren was amazing from the bottom to the top the people are amazing. It's a fantastic club in terms of professionalism, the coaches are always here for you and the facilities are good.

"I'm very happy, even if it's just been a year, to have had some time at this club. I understand that a lot of players are going to be on the market so it will be harder for players out of contract to find a club. It's not an easy time, it's the uncertainty more than anything else. When you don't know what the future is going to bring, it's very tough.

"Players out of contract might have to get a new job, a new career. That's the harsh reality of it. The majority of players have to get a job because we don't have millions in the bank.

"I can't emphasise this enough, players need to give themselves the best chance they can and studies is a big part of that. No matter what it is. I wish I had started earlier. For me I was waiting to be fully confident in my English to be able to deal with that and the academic writing that comes with that. In terms of preparing your future, it's never too early.

"You can start at 21 and it's there. I think it's so important to cover all your bases for your future."

Andreu is learning international studies at The Open University, so it is very much the case that he practices what he preaches. For a few years now, in fact, the player has had his future in mind. "I love it," he added. "It's going very well so far so if I can have a diploma at the end it'll be very good. It's a totally different subject but it's very interesting, and that can help in the future in terms of the environment and all the changes happening right now. I might never work in it but it's amazing to open your mind to a whole new world."