It’s been a frustrating first full season in our Academy for Nathan Peprah-Annan, who has missed much of the current campaign through injury.
But the 17-year-old centre-half believes he will come back stronger and fitter from this lay-off and has already set his sights on next season, which he feels will now be a vital one in his career.
Nathan has played just once for our Under-18s this term, in a 3-3 draw against Bristol City in October. He has been kept out by a cartilage problem on his right knee which has required two exploratory operations, the second of which he has only recently had done.
Now, it’s a case of working hard in his rehabilitation and getting fit once again.
“Obviously it’s been disappointing to be sidelined for such a long time,” says Nathan. “It’s my first season in the Academy, but I feel like I’m missing out big time. This is the time when I should be showing the coaches what I’m capable of, but instead I’ve spent much of it in the treatment room.
“But these things happen, I’ve just got to do what it takes to get myself back out there. At the moment it’s a case of doing rehab in the gym, working hard and hopefully towards the end of this season, I should be back in training. But basically I’m just preparing myself for next season.”
Despite his disappointment, the right-footed defender is enjoying being at Spurs Lodge on a full-time basis.
“It’s been good since I joined the Academy last summer,” he says. “We’re here to learn more and that’s what we’ve been doing, not just on the pitch but also in terms of your diet and your body too. You realise that if you look after yourself, you can perform that much better.
“Obviously I’d rather be out there playing though. When you get an injury it makes you appreciate your football even more, because you see your mates playing and you just want to be out there with them. I’m anxious to get back but I don’t want to rush anything.
“I can be difficult in the gym all the time, it takes a lot of motivation to keep going, but because I’ve gone through this at such an early stage of my career, I think it will make me mentally stronger.
“But to be honest, I just can’t wait to get fit again and come back with a bang!”