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"I still have knee pain playing football with my daughter" - David Meyler on retirement

Ciaran Bradley
Ciaran Bradley

04:18 11 Sep 2019


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In his description of his journey to retirement, David Meyler spoke of near-constant pain, pressure from himself and others, but ultimate satisfaction with his decision to leave football.

In an emotional interview - in which much more serious issues than football were discussed - Meyler spoke of the incident in 2010 with Patrice Evra that led to a catastrophic knee injury.

"I said to the physio 'we just collided knees, give me a minute,'" he said of the initial collision.

"He said 'Give me a minute, let me just test everything,' and he pulled the front of my kneecap to test the cruciate. He said mine came out about a metre."

The injury was almost as bad as a waiting surgeon can imagine, with tears to the cruciate, lateral and medial ligaments, ripped bone from the kneecap and snapped the bicep femoris; that which allows movement in the joint.

"You could probably put together a case that I was too eager to get the ball," he explains of a collision that surgeons advised would end his career.

Confounding surgeons' advice that he would be out for between eighteen and twenty-four months were he to come back at all, it was after just nine months that he returned to action with Sunderland. He has since spoken of the need for patience in players' returns from injury, as he suffered another knee injury not long after.

"People say to me 'You didn't play much for Martin [O'Neill] at Sunderland,' but that was because Martin needed me to be 100% ready to go.

"I probably needed two months of thirty minutes here, forty minutes there, an hour there. It's the Premier League, managers don't have time to be giving young fellas games here and there, and there is only so much that you can get out of reserve games."

Jumping forward to the near-past, Meyler maintains that he has never been 100% fit since, and that his father - John - told him as much recently.

"It's hard because my mum, dad and wife never really understood the extent of it. My dad, to be fair to him, reckons he did from the start.

"My wife thinks that it was all in my head, she thought 'You're fine, you train and you play..."

"To my own downfall, I trained all the time. I never missed training because I felt it was best for me to be training every day in the lead-up to a game."

Such determination to turn out in the best possible shape has led Meyler to permanently damage his body, as he recalled a recent incident with his daughter.

"I was with my daughter, playing football in the garden with some friends. I have pain in my knee in the back garden. I'm just like 'this isn't right."

Characterising his career role as that of 'a rat' with his constant running up and down, Meyler felt that the time had come to retire, which he did a fortnight ago.

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David Meyler Football Hull Ireland Meyler Republic Of Ireland Soccer Sunderland

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