leeds-v-leicester

A home point against Leicester City was a good way for Leeds to sign off for the international break, but there was something even bigger than the result to take away from the game.

I am, of course, talking about the fact Adam Forshaw made his first Premier League start for the club and his first in the league for over two years. I can’t begin to imagine the emotion he must have been feeling after the game. His family, friends, and team-mates will have been so proud of him.

Like me, Adam is a scouser. Unlike me, I’m told he’s a blue and not a red, but I won’t hold that against him. We all have our crosses to bear.

It’s difficult for people to understand how tough it can be for players who are out injured. It’s not just a case of picking up an injury and getting on with your life until you’re fit again. It’s far more challenging than that. Especially when it is long-term or comes with complications and setbacks.

I suffered more than my share of injuries as a player – by the end of my career I was having three injections in my foot before every game just so I could play – but thankfully I never had anything that kept me on the sidelines for months and months.

I played with my fair share of players who did, though. Michael Bridges, Seth Johnson, Lucas Radebe, and Eirik Bakke were all players who spent many, many months out of the game because of injury and I saw what they went through as people and how mentally challenging it is. Long-term injuries can lead to dark days, doubt, and the thought of ‘what if I don’t come back from this and can never play again?’

I’m sure Adam has been through all this and more. No one will have wanted Leeds to win promotion two seasons ago more than him, but no one will have found it as bitter-sweet mentally because he couldn’t play a part. The same last season when we took to the Premier League for the first time in 16 years.

From what I hear he is a great character, and he’s shown great resilience to get back and play in a league he last played in for Middlesbrough in 2017 when he made 35 top-flight appearances before their relegation.

It was great to see him back against Leicester, and to see him do as well as he did. He’s had a long road in coming back and now he’s back he’ll know only too well he’s taken the first steps on another road and is facing a fresh challenge now.

It would be unfair for fans to pin their hopes on him filling a void we have been missing, but he is the one player who could potentially fill the Kalvin Phillips role should it be required. He is comfortable sitting or playing a little further up, and in the coming weeks his return could be massive for us.

But, for now, let’s just welcome him back and wish him all the best for the challenges ahead.

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