The reason for this week’s blog being late is because there has been a lot going on recently, and finding time to sit down and type this out has been difficult.
I’ve had to revise for my driving theory test, there’s been a lot of college work to get done and I played in the Surrey Senior Cup on Monday in which we beat Kingstonian FC 3 – 2.
We are in the middle of a really busy period now and it’s up to ourselves to make sure we rest and recover properly to be ready for the next challenge.
To be honest, sitting here writing this blog is the last thing I feel like doing right now. That’s not a slant on the opportunity I’ve been given in doing it, it’s just an honest description of how I feel after Monday night.
Just as in life, when things are going well for you, you’re attitude becomes really positive and you don’t mind telling everyone what’s going on. But in the same way, when things aren’t going as great, you’d rather keep your head down and keep attention away from yourself.
Before the game against Kingstonian on Monday, I felt so up for it and was eager to impress. I had been looking forward to the game since we found out we we’re playing it, as games against men really test your ability and character. After already playing for the reserves earlier in the season I knew what to expect, so my nerves weren’t too bad. My fitness has slowly but surely been getting there and it had been two months of training fine without a problem.
I started the game well and the first couple of minutes went by fine. We knew it would be a frantic opening 20 minutes, as all games are, but we had most of the ball and didn’t get overawed. Then after about 6/7 minutes, as I have pushed up with the rest of the back four, Kingstonian played a ball over our heads. As I have gone to turn and drop, my poor luck returned. The studs from my left boot got stuck in the ground and as the rest of my body has twisted, my leg stayed in the same position.
The pain when it happened was indescribable and very weird. The only way I can attempt to explain the pain is to say it was like having shooting pains through my groin, pelvic area and on across my hip. I really thought I had done something serious, but after a few minutes work with Stuart Wardle I got up and carried on. Our left back Karl Knight thought I had done the dreaded Cruciate Ligament as my leg had bent in an awkward and unnatural way.
If I had done this after 70/80 minutes then maybe I would have come off straight away, but after six minutes with the assistant manager in the crowd I didn’t want to come off. Looking back, it affected my performance badly. When you are playing with a problem it’s on your mind and you start to worry about it more than your role in the game.
(Images Courtesy of Simon Roe)
I got through to half time where our Physio, Stuart, had another look at it and tried to keep me moving. He didn’t want it to cease up as then there would have been no chance in me coming out for the second half. I was desperate for another 90 minutes so I went back out and aimed to complete the game.
It felt worse, but I definitely thought I could complete the game. I thought it would warm up again and adrenaline would get me through. However after 10 minutes, Gary Issott could tell I was still struggling and replaced me with Jack Holland.
Stuart said to me after the game that I’ve just had no luck so far this year and it’s just unfortunate. He said ‘it could have happened to anyone’, but I quickly interrupted him and said ‘no, this would only have happened to me’. It’s impossible to put into words how gutted I felt.
I don’t want to feel sorry for myself because then that will just make the situation a whole lot worse. Gary has spoken to me before about mental strength, and it’s times like these where it gets tested. If there is anything I can take so far out of my first year, it is dealing with disappointment and injuries.
The injury definitely affected the way I played and in my opinion I had a very average game. If I do want to get in the youth team then I know I have to do better than what I did. I feel getting the injury so early on in the game put me off and played on my mind. I don’t think I have played anywhere near my best in front of Gary and I know that there is so much more from me that needs to come out.
We play Bristol City in the youth cup next week and I am desperate to be part of the squad. Monday night was my chance to perform and get my name at the forefront of Gary’s mind, but unfortunately now I don’t know if that’s the case. I’m hoping the injury clears up quickly so I can get back and continue my learning.
After the game Mick Jones came in and told me I shouldn’t be disappointed that I came off because he thought I was terrific. Of course it’s great to hear feedback like that, especially from someone so high up, but at that moment in the changing room I just wanted to get out and get home.
Mick is one of the main people I need to impress to try and get a professional contract, so I just have to take his advice on board and hope for another chance soon to impress him. After the game the lads were trying to cheer me up and I had a good chat with James Comley.
I look up to Coms a lot, and out of the current young pro’s I do idolise him the most. I talk to James a lot and he always gives me advice and tells me what I can do better. He’s honest with me and tells me how it is, not what I want him to say. That’s the only way I am going to improve as a player, so I do make sure I take on board what he has to say, and try and use what he says to help me.
He has made me feel better about things, but at the same time there is still a lot of frustration and disappointment running through me. We now have a game on Friday against Fulham in the league, before we entertain Bristol City at home in the FA Youth Cup on Wednesday. I really do hope we get a good turnout for the Youth Cup game, and I hope if you are reading this you intend on coming to the game.
It’s going to be a tough game for us and the lads need as much support as possible.