Wilfred Bouma has revealed that at points he feared he would never play professional football again after the horror injury he sustained against Odense.
Speaking to the E&S Bouma explained that this had been the hardest part of his career and how he wished to thank everyone associated with the club, from the board right down to the supporters for their well wishes, their support and for keeping his spirits high during the longest lay off of his career.
"Has it been the hardest period in my career? Yes, there`s no doubt about it.
"This time there were some doubts in my head in the beginning. With an injury like this you never know, but the doctor and physios told me it will be OK again."
Speaking to the man's own character, Bouma admits that even in the darkest hours of his doubt he gained a fresh perspective on his injury, and possible life as a footballer, so he concentrated solely on recovery and I suspect will enjoy his football from here on in even more than before.
"I told myself there are much worse things in the world than Freddie`s ankle.
"Other players who have had injuries like this have come back as well so my goal was to play again because this is the best thing for me - playing football. I was prepared to do anything to come back.
"It`s about how you can cope with the pain. If the pain is within the limit then you can push yourself on."
As many will remember, O'Neill gave Bouma a new two year contract with an option for a third year within weeks of his injury, I think we all remember the quotes about how the club would take care of him, and they certainly did.
"I never really felt out of the team, because I was with the boys everyday.
"The supporters are wonderful. They have chanted my name a lot in the reserve games and during my rehab. It helps you as a player when the club and manager have confidence in you.
"Just hours after I had opened my eyes from the operation the manager was there, he talked to me and told me the injury wouldn`t change anything because the deal was there.
"That helped me straightaway."
I'm not sure seeing Martin O'Neill's face within minutes of an operation would help anyone to be perfectly honest, suffice to say I can think of plenty of managers who wouldn't take the time to visit an injured player that quickly nor give a player the security of knowing that a contract was still on the table, even if they weren't going to be on the pitch for nigh on a year of it.
I very much doubt Bouma will be in contention for Man U and even if he is, I think it would be a mistake to throw him back into a game like that, but who knows for Everton. I haven't seen it ruled out yet, and God knows we need him back so fingers crossed.
Quotes from Express & Star
Manager Tim Sherwood has spoken of his disappointment - and shouldered the blame - for today's one nil loss to Stoke City.
All the stats from Aston Villa (0) vs (1) Stoke, Villa Park, 3/10/15 Att: 33,189
Statistics, damn lies and Aston Villa..
Bit of a mix and match today from manager Tim Sherwood's pre Stoke press conference.
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