Darren Anderton has a new rule about his fitness: "I'm not willing to take chances over injuries any more."
The midfielder pulled out of the running to be a member of Kevin Keegan's England at the European Championships, giving himself a complete rest after feeling slight discomfort with an Achilles problem at the end of the season.
Looking well in pre-season training, Anderton confirmed: "It was a precautionary thing more than anything. I felt the problem a couple of times as the grounds got harder at the end of last season and although it wasn't a serious problem, it was initially a very serious injury and I'm not willing to take chances any more.
"I've played with injuries for years and it has caused me problems. It catches up with you. I've got to be sensible so I went to see the surgeon to see what he felt and he said to be honest he wouldn't advise me to go out and play.
"He said I came back quicker than expected last season and I'd done very well, played for four or five months without any problems, and what I needed was a rest. I was told to work on it a little in the summer, have a good pre-season, and that should be the end of it. Hopefully that will be the case."
Anderton's injury jinx struck again at the start of last season. After helping us to the top of the Premiership at Sheffield Wednesday on August 21, he felt his Achilles in the warm-up against Leeds - a problem that required surgery. He didn't return until January.
He added: "The operation last year was basically to sort out wear and tear, but it was pretty bad though, partially torn. I couldn't believe it when it happened. It actually happened in the warm-up. It just shows you these things can happen at any time."