“Injuries were my biggest problem, to be honest. By the time I left United, I probably had six ops so that was it. I was starting to get going, get injured, get going, get injured. It’s probably the story as even my last game for United at Altrincham, I played and broke my leg. I literally went straight from the stadium to hospital and, fortunately, my uncle was a surgeon and he called his best mate and he did the surgery. He came out of bed at 2am and did the op by 5am. The phone next to the bed was ringing and it was the boss. He rang me and said: ‘Oh my God, you’ve been so unlucky. Don’t worry, we’ll get you sorted.’ At that point, in February or March, I’d been offered a three-year contract to stay but I was in a funny place. I’d been on loan at Watford and done okay but would just get going and get slapped. I’d had 14 ops by the end of my career and your body feels it. Injuries are horrible and particularly when you’re going full throttle. You can plan but the mental side is the most important, coming back from a cruciate or broken leg and still going to play football. You get to 30 and, by the end of it, each one has chipped away from you and taken the edge off you. When speed was a big part of my game, you learn to manage yourself. Injuries are part and parcel and you come out the back-end a stronger person for it.”
“What a lot of fans and punters don’t know about footballers, although we had the best job in the world – don’t get me wrong, if you love football it’s the best job, full stop – but I’d pretty much say 100 per cent of footballers play with injuries. There is always something wrong with a player. I can speak for the lads on screen, when you go and play football, there’s a niggle or something. A hematoma or ligament damage. We played with so many injuries throughout our career, pain-killing tablets and jabs, just to get out there. People don’t realise and the body has taken an absolute hammering. Like Browny said, tackles are an instinct thing and that happens sometimes when you really shouldn’t do it. But it’s on top of the injuries, Benji played with his knee, and these are injuries that all of us have.”
“I used to take anti-inflamms every day of the week, just to go out for an hour or two and feel okay. I’d have one the night before, then one before the game and then two pain-killers just to get through the game. What’s that doing to you? My shoulders would dislocate. I remember playing certain games and my shoulder would dislocate but I didn’t want people to know I had a problem and all that kind of thing. I used to put my shoulder back in on the pitch and get on with it. Stuff like that. When I went to sign for Portsmouth, I thought I’d not get through the medical as I strapped my shoulders every day and my shoulders would bleed when I took it off. I thought: how am I getting through the medical? But you find ways and I was holding the strap in place and thinking I’ll pull through the medical. When they said the shoulder was okay, I was buzzing as I was here to play, but there was pain all the time.”
“Our dressing room is likes a Boots pharmacy before the [Legends] games we have now, Danny!”
“Nobody has shin-pads any more, we have pain-killers!”
“You’re still our saviour, Dan!”
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