DAVID Meyler completed his first full game of football in 10 months last night to raise further hopes that he can overcome not one but two career-threatening injuries in the space of 18 months.
The 22-year-old played the full 90 minutes in the Reserves 3-1 win over Wigan at the Eppleton Colliery Welfare Ground to make it two milestones in four days – the combatative midfielder having made his first-team return in the dying minutes of Sunderland’s 2-2 draw with West Brom at the weekend.
And afterwards he was elated to make such significant progress on the comeback trail.
“It’s great,” he told SportMail. “It felt good to play a full game again and I’ve had no reaction to it whatsoever – the knee feels fine and I’m pleased with that.
“I know I’ve got to take my time and be careful as I comeback but there’s really light at the end of the tunnel now and I’m looking forward to getting fitter and sharper now.
The Republic of Ireland midfielder has barely played since May last year after suffering two serious knee ligament injuries, the second of which was sustained in the Premier League game against Aston Villa in January just a handful of matches into his comeback.
Meyler has shown terrific strength of character to twice battle back from the injuries which could have ended his career but admits that last night was the acid test.
“There is a mental hurdle to get over when you’ve had a serious injury, but getting through the 90 minutes last night - and the few minutes I had in the first team at the weekend - has got me over that.
“To come off the bench on Saturday against West Brom was fantastic, if a little unexpected.
“I hadn’t been in the original squad but David Vaughan was ill and I was told to get myself ready.
“To be honest, I was shocked by the reception I got when I came on to the pitch - to hear the fans cheering like they did.
“I was thrilled and I’d like to thank all the fans for the support.”
they have given me.
“I was delighted to have got on and it goes to show that the manager has got trust and faith in me.
“Now I just want to get back playing and repay him.”
FULL story in Wednesday’s Mail ...