Hughes feared he’d never play again af­ter cru­ci­ate

Burton Mail - - Sport -

FORMER Derby County star Will Hughes has re­called the se­ri­ous knee in­jury he sus­tained in 2015.

Hughes lined up against Bolton Wan­der­ers at the Macron Sta­dium on the open­ing day of the 2015-16 sea­son but, half an hour in, he was taken off af­ter suf­fer­ing an an­te­rior cru­ci­ate lig­a­ment in­jury.

The 23-year-old did not re­turn to ac­tion for an­other eight months, in the re­verse fix­ture against Bolton at Pride Park – a match which ended 4-1 to the Rams.

Since then, Hughes earned a move to Pre­mier League side Wat­ford and has been a key fig­ure for the Hor­nets.

Speak­ing to Wat­ford’s web­site, Hughes ad­mit­ted he had doubts whether he would ever play foot­ball again.

“I re­mem­ber go­ing into that sea­son feel­ing good, re­ally ex­cited, then, 30 min­utes in, my sea­son was over,” he said.

“I just knew it was a bad one and it (the cru­ci­ate lig­a­ment in­jury in his right knee) had such a men­tal im­pact on me. I felt some­thing go.

“From then on I was just try­ing to get round it men­tally.

“That sea­son was the hard­est of my ca­reer.

“Phys­i­cally, you know what you are in for, you just have to work hard. It’s men­tally drain­ing, though.

“Orig­i­nally, you do doubt whether you’ll get back.

“Af­ter I had the op, I was in so much pain and my move­ment was so re­stricted that I won­dered how my leg was ever go­ing to get bet­ter and get back to that stan­dard.

“I even won­dered if I was ever go­ing to be able to run. It was a real men­tal battle. Once you start go­ing through the process you gain more con­fi­dence.”

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