Phillips has still got it, says Welford
Shaun Welford says he always believed Mickey Phillips retired too early.
The Ashford United midfielder, who has undergone 13 knee operations in an injury-hit career, gave up the game in February after being diagnosed with arthritis in his back.
However, he has returned to preseason training at Homelands and assistant boss Welford said: “I always knew it was too premature.
“He was playing with a knee injury last season and was getting frustrated.
“It was the frustration more than anything that made him hang up his boots because he knew what he was capable of – we all did – and his knee was stopping him hitting his full potential.
“He’s still got it and a fit Mickey Phillips is the first name on the teamsheet for any team. He’s magical and he’s still got it. It’s all in his head. He’s a proper footballer, he’s still got that professional attitude.”
Meanwhile, club record goalscorer Welford is relishing the new challenge in Bostik South this season.
He said: “For the past three seasons I thought it was going to be my last but keep on scoring those goals and you’ve got to carry on.
“After scoring 48 last season, I think I’d be a fool just to stop.
“The last thing I want to do is be embarrassed on the field and make a fool of myself but I still feel fit, still feel I’ve got a lot to offer, so I’ll have another go.”
He added: “The game is changing a bit. The old-school centre-forward has gone out of fashion.
“You don’t see a lot of them about nowadays. You can’t exactly get away with as much as we used to back in the day.
“A lot of teams, especially because of the 3G pitches, they make use of it and play out-and-out football.
“You still get bad pitches and then you need to go direct – that’s where I come into it.”
Ashford United keeper George Kamurasi