Green: Worst pain I have felt
CHRIS LAKEY Canaries keeper Robert Green has spoken for the first time of the agonising moments when he knew his World Cup dream was over.
Canaries keeper Robert Green has spoken for the first time of the agonising moments when he knew his World Cup dream was over.
Green described his injury as the worst pain he has ever suffered and admitted he “felt like screaming like a schoolgirl”.
The 26-year-old had the sympathy of the nation when, a little over a week ago, he collapsed in agony, less than 10 minutes after coming on for the second half of the England B match against Belarus.
What at first appeared to be just a slip quickly unfolded into the stuff of nightmares, as Green was stretchered from the pitch, hands over his eyes, knowing that his ticket to this summer's World Cup had effectively been ripped up.
Forty-eight hours later he underwent surgery to repair a ruptured groin muscle but now, with the World Cup just days away, Green says the mental scars are just as vivid.
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Speaking from his Norfolk home where he is recovering, Green today relived the worst night of his career.
“I've had a few injuries,” he said. “I've had a broken back, broken ankle and broken wrist all in the past 10 years or so. But for one-off pain it was the most pain I've ever been in - in my life. It's not often I'm brought close to tears, but I felt like screaming like a schoolgirl.”
It was pain which Green knew had ended his World Cup before it had begun.
“There were not many things going through my mind at the time beyond the pain,” said the England number three. “But I knew that I was in so much pain that it was all over. My body was telling me that something was seriously wrong.
“The pain was so bad that it felt as if I had lost half of my hip bone on my leg. It's by far and away the worst I have ever felt.”
And the pain goes on, with the intense build-up to the greatest footballing show on earth simply rubbing salt in Green's mental wounds.
“Every little advert that comes on hurts,” Green said.
“Even stupid ones like adverts for televisions or things like that which include the World Cup - you get a little twinge. But it's not the be all and end all. I'm not in the squad for a reason - I'm injured.
“You look at people like Darren Bent who have done magnificently well this season and they are staying at home. It's probably more frustrating for them. It's massively disappointing, but it's a great chance for Scott Carson to go out there and get all the experience he can.”
Green, clearly striving to come to terms with his fate, declined had media requests for interviews and spoke of his ordeal through Norwich City's official website, explaining just how the events of the night unfolded.
The first hint of a problem came when he saved a free-kick just minutes after coming on for the second half of the match, at Reading's Madejski Stadium.
“I felt like I had trapped a nerve when I went down to scoop the ball up after the free-kick,” he explained. “It seemed fairly innocuous. As I went down to pick up the ball I felt something twinge. It was a sharp pain inside my groin and it's something I've often felt and just put down to a trapped nerve and carried on.
“I thought it was another one of those and looked to carry on as usual. Obviously later on I realised it was slightly more serious.”
Just before the ramifications of that twinge were felt, Green had appeared to try and take a short one, only to find there was no-one to play it to.
Instead, he was forced to opt for a long clearance, which led to the horrific injury.
“I was desperate to take a short one,” he said. “Before that I had thrown the ball out as I didn't want to be smacking the ball 80 yards up the pitch.
“I was keen to play a short one to get through the five-minute period to see if it would get better. But taking the kick, before I had got to within a yard of the ball I felt my leg completely rip and it felt as though someone had stabbed me inside of my groin. I almost blacked out from the pain before I kicked the ball so it was pretty horrific at the time.”
The injury is expected to keep Green on the sidelines for up to four months, but the player says he is determined to overcome it and win back his England squad place.
“It's more motivation for me,” he said. “Some people saw it happen and probably thought I won't be involved again. It's the motivation to get back that keeps me going.
“I'm taking it one step at a time. I will start walking first then my goal is to get back playing again and be good enough to be selected for the England squad again.”