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Under-21s

Glover on life without an ACL

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AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

At the age of 11 in a fixture against his home town, Yeovil, Ryan Glover found himself injured and in a lot of pain.

He had no idea that seven years later, that same injury would come back to haunt him and side-line himself for almost a full year.

It was only when an unrelated knee injury called for a scan in London and the news couldn’t have been more surprising.

“The doctor asked if I wanted the good or bad news, naturally I asked for the good news.

“I was told I needed surgery and it would only be two or three months. However, he then asked if I’d ever had any other problems and I explained about my injury aged 11.

“He said it didn’t sound good and looked at the scan again. His head just dropped when he realised I didn’t have an ACL.

“I thought to myself, I only came here for my kneecap and now I’m going to be out for the best part of nine, ten, 11 months.”

It all began back in the academy midfielder’s home town of Yeovil at just 11 years old.

Glover was there for a Cherries away fixture and all his family were watching from the side-lines.

“I had a shot and I landed on my shooting leg. I tried to get up and play on but my knee had no energy in it and it was so painful I went off.

“The club was in a different position back then so couldn’t do scans. They told me it was probably just a ligament or a cartilage that has come out.

“I had a month off because I couldn’t play. I went back to training but it just kept clicking and clicking.

“Amazingly, without rehabbing, it was a case of keep playing on it and I just managed to overcome it and my knee became stronger. I just adapted to not having an ACL.”

News from the doctor came at the worst time for the 18-year old and uncertainty swarmed his mind.

“The world just closed a bit. They told me my knee is like a ticking time bomb and could go at any point and I wouldn’t be able to recover.

“AFC Bournemouth said have the surgery and that they’d support me. They offered me a contract and pushed it forward. 

“It meant that I didn’t have to worry in my head about getting a pro contract after surgery. It made me confident again because the contract didn’t start until I was back playing, so I hadn’t lost any time.”

“I was frustrated because I had just gone out on loan to Weymouth. It was my first ever experience of senior football and I was doing really well.

“I’d played four games, started two and won man of the match awards in both. I was really in-form, confident and playing some of my best football.

“It was mixed emotions, I’d played without an ACL for eight years thinking that was crazy, but that soon phased out and it all hit me.”

Long-term injury was something new to the Cherries winger, having never being side-lined for more than two or three months at a time.

However, he was fully supported by everyone around him, especially his host family in digs.

“Dom, Gem and Leo were the best people in the world. I can’t thank them enough. They were so supportive and like family to me. I don’t see them as hosts, they’re genuine family.

“They helped me so much, always asking if I was okay. They’d do anything for me.

“The whole rehab stage was new to me because I’d never been injured properly before.

“I was walking within two days so I thought I’d be running in two months, but it took about five months until I was running again.

“Everyday it’s just running then, you don’t touch a ball for so long, it builds you up mentally massively.”

Motivation can come in various different forms and Glover found this out courtesy of his best friend.

“I got introduced to this book by my best friend. It’s by David Goggins and called ‘Cant Hurt Me’.

“It’s about his journey from a situation where he kept getting knocked back, but he just kept coming back.

“When you’re doing spins every day, which is the worst thing in the world, some of the stuff in the book just stuck with me.”

Now on the back end of recovery and deemed as fit by the medical team, Glover reflected on getting back to fitness and looking ahead.

“When I first started training, I was sloppy, not confident and I didn’t feel like part of the team, I felt like the outcast.

“Now I’m fully confident and going into games thinking I’ll do well. I’m back to the stage where I was before.

“I’d love to go on loan to Weymouth again. The fans really liked me and I developed another side to me.

“It’s all about character building and I excelled when I went on loan. I need to get more games under my belt, until then I don’t know where I’m actually at.

“We have a game this Saturday and we need people to come and support us. It’s much better when there’s more people there.

“It’s only going to build us and make us stronger as players, especially mentally when more people come and watch because we’re not used to massive crowds.”

Come and support our under-21s against Nottingham Forest in the Hampshire Senior Cup tomorrow. Ticket information can be found here and you can buy on the day.

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