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Development Squad

George on the Hunt for change of luck


AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

Meet George Hunt, arguably one of the unluckiest players ever to have worn the AFC Bournemouth shirt.

The teenage midfielder realised his boyhood dream when he signed his first contract with the club in July 2019.

Since then, however, he has been kicking his heels, licking his wounds and cursing his calves.

Just weeks after penning his first pro deal, the 19-year-old ruptured a tendon in his left leg, only to suffer the same fate in his right leg as he prepared to hit the comeback trail.

Adding insult to his double dose of injury, Hunt discovered between ten and 20 per cent of the population are born without the tendon he damaged – the plantaris muscle.

His 45-minute run-out for Cherries under-21s against Eastleigh on Monday was Hunt’s first taste of action for 15 injury-ravaged months.

Talking up the story with afcb.co.uk, Hunt said: “I came in on trial and signed my first contract at the start of last season.

“I was absolutely buzzing. I had always dreamed of being a professional footballer and Bournemouth gave me my chance.

“Everything started well and I had a good pre-season. But when I was running during a training session, I felt a sharp pop in my calf. It was as if someone was stabbing me.

“I knew it wasn’t good and a scan revealed I had ruptured the plantaris muscle. We tried to go down the non-operation route but it didn’t work so I had to have it removed.

“I was in a boot for a couple of weeks and wasn’t allowed to walk on it.

“As I got closer to returning to full training, we realised scar tissue had formed where the tendon had been removed so I had to have some injections to break it up.

“Then, at the start of lockdown, I was running and exactly the same thing happened on the other side. I felt a pop and knew it was the same thing. The surgeon operated straight away and it was the same procedure.

“When I went back the second time, the surgeon told me how unlucky I was. He said he had never seen anybody rupture them on both sides and also that some people don’t even have those muscles.”

Despite his misfortune, Hunt signed a new 12-month contract in the summer and was delighted to line up in the first half of the Cherries’ 5-1 win against Eastleigh in a friendly.

“It was a really big moment for me,” he said. “It was great to put shin pads on for the first time in a while and to be in a changing room.

“It had been so long since I last played and was just what I had been waiting all this time for. I had been picturing it in my head.

“I felt okay. My fitness was a bit behind but that was to be expected after such a long time out. I felt good on the ball and felt I did well for my first game in 15 months.

“What happened to me was crazy and I couldn’t have imagined things could have gone any worse for me since I signed here. But that’s football.

“I was at Brentford as a kid when they decided to close their academy and then went to Southampton but wasn’t offered a scholarship.

“I eventually did my two-year scholarship at Coventry but didn’t get offered anything at the end and was released.

“Deep down, I knew it was on the cards and I started to fall out of love with the game. I started playing for CB Hounslow United in the Combined Counties League and really enjoyed it.

“I even got knocked out when I came here and played in a trial game!

“It’s been setback after setback and it was hard to stay motivated.

“I was extremely grateful to get a new contract in the summer, particularly with what’s happening in the world at the moment. It shows they’ve got faith in me and believe in me, which is good.”

Hunt will be hoping to have his first competitive run-out in Cherries colours when Shaun Cooper’s under-21s meet Southend in the Central League Cup next month.

“Coops has been brilliant with me,” added Hunt. “He has kept me positive and put an arm around me when I’ve needed it.

“There isn’t too much you can say to someone when they are injured for so long but he always said the right thing at the right time and that meant a lot to me.

“As the tendons have been removed, there is no chance of me rupturing them again so, hopefully, I can repay the club’s faith in me and show people what I can do.”

Hunt was keen to publicly thank for their efforts surgeon Andy Roche, academy sports scientist Elliot Whiteside, under-21s' physio Ally Barlow who he said "was with me every step of the way" and the rest of the club's medical team.

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