It’s not been the start to the season that Brooklyn Genesini was quite hoping for, but he isn’t letting it hold him back.
A labral tear in his hip delayed a return to action for the youngster, who was eager to get back on the field after the Covid-19 pandemic had already caused a six-month absence.
Speaking with afcb.co.uk, Genesini talked through the ups and downs of the last two months and what such an important season holds for him.
“I had an injury from September until about mid-November,” he began.
“It was a bit of a shock to me because I’m not really a very injury-prone person. I haven’t had an injury that’s been longer than a week in my whole life, so it was a bit of a bullet in the foot.
“It was different, but it was quite interesting as well because it made me really realise how much football is such a lovable sport for me.
“Just being out for a day or two, it might be nice to have a rest, but when it’s that long and you’re seeing all the players out on the pitch enjoying themselves, it really does hurt and it’s quite horrible.
“I always trusted myself to be able to come back as strong as possible because of the person I am but this is obviously a big season for me.
“I want to stay at this club and I don’t want to disappoint. All I could do when I was injured was recover and, in that time, I made sure I did everything to the best of my ability.
“I feel like I’ve come back quite strong and I feel like I’m fitter than I was, so all-in-all, while it was a bit of a hard time, it was also maybe a bit of a positive.”
Having not had a lengthy injury in his career before, the defender was understandably cautious upon returning after two months on the sidelines and the impact it could have mentally.
“After an injury, any kind of pain and you start thinking what it could be or whether it’s going to keep you out,” Genesini added.
“You do worry a little bit, but I knew deep down if it was that bad then I would be able to tell because I’ve got quite a good pain threshold.
“If I get an injury and I really feel it, like I did with my initial injury, then I know it’s something quite serious but, with the little niggles I was getting and the tightness I felt coming back, I just made sure I looked after myself and did all my exercises.”
With Tuesday’s Central League Cup clash at home to Southend set to be Genesini’s fourth competitive fixture back, he discussed his progress and how a change of position helped settle him back into the team.
“I’ve played three games so far – well two-and-a-half really as the first game back I could only play 45 minutes because you don’t want to push too quickly and then get another injury.
“I played that first half and I thought I was excellent. It was a good start to put me in good stead for whatever this season brings.
“Then we played Oxford and that was different for me because I played in a different position.
“It was a bit of a shock but I’m known for my range of passing and vision so playing centre-back, in the middle of a three, was a bit more of a free role to get the ball at my feet, get my head up and just do my magic.
“It was really enjoyable and it was a good position to come back into and play my first game – I thought I did really well.”
The fixture with the Shrimpers at Canford tomorrow is perhaps the biggest of the season for Shaun Cooper’s side, who are looking to top Group A and progress to the knockout stages of the Central League Cup.
Genesini has fond memories of the competition and was part of the side which won it back in May 2019, a 2-0 win over Notts County enough to lift the trophy.
“I was a first year in the under-18s at the time, so I didn’t have much experience of playing with men,” he explained.
“Notts County had what seemed like a men’s squad, they had some really good players on their team, but I also knew I had some really good players on my team.
“I wouldn’t have been chosen for that if they didn’t think I was up to the challenge or ready for the challenge, so I believed in myself and it was a very good performance, a very good day out and I won’t forget that for a very long time.
“Every bit of positive feedback is good for me. If I get called for the first team or anything, it’s that little bit of confidence that really gets you going and puts you in good stead.
“It helped me at the time, being a first year and getting called up for that. It made me believe in myself and think about what I can achieve.
“You see these younger players nowadays going in first teams and doing well and I just think to myself ‘why can’t I do that?’”
Genesini continued to state how his tough upbringing has shaped the person he is both on and off the pitch, and how it has motivated him to succeed with the Cherries even more.
“I didn’t come from the best background and it was a hard start for me in life.
“I wasn’t from a very well-off family or anything but it drove me a lot more and it got me to where I am today.
“I wasn’t in an academy until I was 15 and Bournemouth was the first academy I came into, so it was crazy to be honest.
“That’s why all these achievements are little boosts of confidence and they make me believe in myself more and more.”
With games coming thick and fast for both the first team and under-21s, who have had friendlies confirmed with both Luton and Bristol Rovers before Christmas, the 19-year-old discussed his ambitions in red and black.
“My short-term goal is that I want to be regularly playing 90 minutes each game if possible,” Genesini continued.
“I want to always be put in that squad, then I want to be creating stuff and help improve my stats like assists and crosses and little personal things that not many other people think about but will make my game better.
“In the long-term, I want to be given something at the end of the year by the club because it’s a really good system here and I do enjoy it.
“What I do on and off the field is precious to me because I need to make sure that everything is done to absolute perfection.
“If I do everything to the best of my ability, I don’t see why I can’t get that contract at the end of the year.”