Deja Vu..

The realisation of the long road ahead.

I hoped when writing my post on December 1st 2018 it would be the last injury I’d ever have to write about.

After consulting with my surgeon Mr. James Calder in London today, I unfortunately find myself sat here, “moon boot” on, crutches by my side, writing out these painful words again.… I have ruptured my right Achilles’ tendon and will require surgery on Monday (21st Dec 2020).

After rupturing my left Achilles’ tendon twice (2008 & 2018), I’m all too familiar with what I’m about to go through over the weeks and months, through surgery and rehab. But this time I find myself two years older and out of contract in the summer. The task has never been so colossal, but it’s one that I’m ready to take on head first (like in games), and fight to extend my career. 

‘Fighting’ has become synonymous with my time at Derby County since that day when I last ruptured my Achilles at The bet365 Stadium in Nov 2018. Firstly, I had to fight to get back fit, which I won. But the fight wasn’t over…

After Frank Lampard left for Chelsea, the club appointed Phillip Cocu as manager. This is when a different fight was placed upon me. To impress, show my worth, gain respect. At the start of that season I was losing that battle. The manager had a clear identity of what he wanted to see in a central defender…and that wasn’t me. I was sat on the bench or in the stands wondering where my next step would take me.

With misguided thoughts of “what next” for my career running through my head, I remember being on my phone at 3am one morning searching for where the transfer window was still open. Contemplating moving to Australia, China or Qatar.

Ironically, it was the very next morning that there had been a well-publicised incident. This saw me reinstated into the team as captain. I managed to earn the manager’s trust. He saw what I was able to bring to the table, and I went on to play 37 games that season and triggered a years contract extension.

Whilst I had earned the managers trust, I wasn’t going to rest on my laurels at the start of this season. I knew that I still wasn’t the managers ‘typical’ centre back. With the current options at the managers disposal, coupled with the additions of new players and young players being promoted, I was going to have a fight on my hands again.

I gave everything I could through pre season and came up short but I still knew my worth and was willing to fight for my place. After being on the bench and left out for the first few games of the season, I was called upon for the Norwich City game. Just like the Birmingham City game the previous year I had managed to remind the manager what I am capable of and what qualities I can add to the team.

Obviously the manager has since moved on but I’ve continued to fight and show what I’ve got. To represent myself and this football club to the very best of my ability, both on and off the field. These are characteristics that are ingrained in me.

Now people may say it’s time to give up. At 36 come the end of the season it could maybe be considered the logical thing to do. But anybody who knows me, knows that I won’t give up without a fight. And it starts now!!

Categories Football

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