Emerging talent Christian Saydee has revealed how supportive team-mates and staff helped him overcome some tough hurdles on the road to recovery.
Saydee has hit the ground running by netting nine goals in as many games as AFC Bournemouth under-18s have made an impressive start to the season.
The 17-year-old striker has quickly rediscovered his form having spent six painstaking months on the sidelines after sustaining a serious knee injury.
Saydee, a second-year scholar at Vitality Stadium, ruptured the medial collateral ligament during the Cherries’ FA Youth Cup win against Aston Villa in February.
He was the victim of a late tackle from Villa striker Jacob Ramsey – who was sent off for the challenge – and required surgery to repair the damage.
Saydee admitted he had struggled to come to terms with the injury in the early days and was grateful to a host of people for helping him keep up his spirits during his rehab.
He was treated by senior academy physio Sara Sayer and Ben Bradley, head of academy sport science and medicine, while boss Alan Connell was another key figure in his recovery.
Saydee told afcb.co.uk: “I’ve had a good start and feel it’s based on what happened with my injury last season.
“Sara, Ben, the gaffer and all the other staff kept pushing me to get back to my normal self and my team-mates kept me going and gave me the mental strength to come back and do well.
“During the operation, they had to put two pins and a thread in my knee. I couldn’t really cope at the start of my rehab but everybody helped me through.
“Ryan Glover and Dinesh Gillela were both injured at the same time as me and they kept giving me encouragement and telling me it wasn’t the end of my career.”
Saydee, who is in the same digs as Nathan Moriah-Welsh, had struck up a fruitful partnership with Jake Scrimshaw before he suffered his injury.
“Scrimmy has been something of a role model for me,” said Saydee. “He was one of my closest team-mates when we played together.
“He kept pushing me to score goals and provide assists. I looked up to him because he works so hard, he scores lots of goals and is a great finisher.”
Saydee, who joined the Cherries having spent nine years with Reading, has scored seven goals in the EFL Youth Alliance and two in the Youth Alliance Cup this season.
He was on target as they suffered their first defeat of the season at Oxford last week and is hoping to help them get back to winning ways when they host Newport County at Canford Arena tomorrow (11.30am).
Saydee added: “We will come back a lot stronger for the Oxford defeat. I felt we should have won that game. They had two chances and we had a lot more. We just needed to take ours and will be aiming to do a lot better this week.
“I enjoyed my time at Reading. They helped me become a better player and to understand the game more.
“I’m enjoying myself here. I’m smiling more and having more fun. I’m just trying to do the best I can to hopefully get a contract at the end of the season.”