“I first started feeling the injury in pre-season 2015. It’s called patella tendonitis – you get a little niggle in the front of your kneecap on your patella tendon. I was having a few pains, but I was managing it quite well in the first half of the season and I ended up going on loan to Gateshead.
“They trained on the 3G surface quite a lot, and that – alongside the fact I probably wasn’t doing my pre-hab as well as I should have – meant the pain was slowly starting to build up. It got worse and worse and by the time it got to April, I couldn’t play properly or perform to the best of my ability.
“I went to see the Doc, and he said the best treatment would be to have some injections. I had dextrose injections in both knees, and some sort of stripping technique was done as well. I broke up at the end of the season and I thought I was going to start pre-season absolutely fine. I came back in on the first day, and it was no good. I had some more injections, called Epi, which is like an electronic acupuncture sort of thing. I had three sets of those done in my left knee, but that didn’t work, and eventually I had to have an operation – that was in October 2016. It was meant to take five or six months for me to get back after that, but it ended up taking me 12.
“It’s been a long, long process. It was a case of working hard in the gym for a year, slowly building up from training once or twice a week, to every other day, to the point where I can train every single day again. It’s obviously been hard, but I’ve just tried to take it day by day. I could have been in a far worse situation – there are people who are told they are never going to play again. I’ve always had the mindset that I’m going to get back fit, I’ve known what I’ve needed to do to do that, and I’ve just tried to keep my head down and not think of anything else. Even though it took a little bit longer than expected, I eventually got there.”