Tough sitting it out
Michael Dawson has spoken about how difficult he found it to sit the majority of the season out with injury.
The defender only made 13 appearances for us during the campaign and admits that he finds sitting on the sidelines tough to deal with.
“I’ll admit that I’m not my normal outgoing self when I’m injured – particularly when it is as long term like this one has been,” he says.
“The medics here are great and they try to keep you positive as well as putting you right. But I find it so hard. The worst thing is hearing all the banter as the lads go out to train and being stuck behind.
“I’ve certainly got to know Tom Huddlestone a lot better because he’s hardly played at all last season so he’s had it even harder than me. As a result we’ve been working hard together but it’s great that the two of us managed to get back out there before the summer break and we can now look forward to next season and coming back stronger.
“There’s no doubt that the season is a long, testing one and you have to demonstrate mental as well as physical strength to come through. There’s always pressure, high expectations, because this is a great club and that tough inner core is crucial at this level.
“But those demands don’t just disappear if and when you’re injured. It’s all still there but in a different way because you are frustrated and determined to recover as quickly as possible but you just can’t get there.
“Your whole routine also changes because you are working to a playing-training tempo and suddenly that is disrupted. As a footballer you are naturally programmed to want to play football and that is your whole outlook.
“So if that is taken away from you, particularly over a long period, then you have to find a different kind of mental toughness. You have to find optimism from somewhere but it is far from easy.
“You are frustrated but you have to stay positive and keep believing. In fact what else can you do!?”