DAVID Meyler insists he has conquered any psychological hurdles stemming from two career-threatening knee injuries.
Meyler made his third substitute appearance for Sunderland’s first team at Manchester United after returning to full fitness following eight months on the sidelines with a second lay-off through knee ligament damage.
Given the 22-year-old has spent the bulk of the last year-and-a-half on the treatment table, the Irish midfielder could be forgiven for showing some tentativeness when it comes to the physical side of the game.
But Meyler believes his thumping challenge on Wayne Rooney in last weekend’s defeat at Old Trafford proves he is ready to put his body on the line.
Meyler told Sportmail: “The way I play, I like to tackle, so I don’t really think about it when I’m on the field playing. It’s just a normal thing for me.
“You go and tackle and that’s it – you don’t think about it.
“If you do and you start to pull out, that’s when you can get injured.
“You have to go 100 per cent hard into a challenge.”
He added: “Of course it was a decent run-out for me on Saturday.
“It’s a boyhood dream to play at Old Trafford and that’s the second time I’ve played there.
“I’m obviously delighted to get more minutes under the belt because it’s been a long 17 months for me.
“I’m all good, touch-wood, and working hard just to keep strengthening the knee.
“I’ve had seven reserve games now and three substitute appearances for the first-team, so I’m just looking forward to pushing on again.”
Sunderland face four successive outings against teams also lingering in the bottom half of the Premier League table when they return to action after the two-week international break.
While Meyler admits 15th placed Sunderland need to maximise their return against Fulham, Wigan, Wolves and Blackburn, he believes the display at Old Trafford shows the Black Cats are not lacking in self-confidence.
“If we can score a few more goals, then we’ll start winning games and I’m sure we’ll be flying in no time,” added the former Cork City man.
“We want to win every game – that’s just the way we are and the way the manager drills it into us.
“We’ve got Fulham next and we’ll want to beat them and push on from there.
“But with the squad we’ve got, we want to be going to places like Old Trafford and getting a result too.
“Going to Old Trafford is obviously very hard, but we played well and were organised.
“We’re not here to watch teams pass it around the park and beat us.
“I’m confident that when we play Fulham next week and kick on from the first whistle, we can get a result.”