‘I genuinely wanted to quit’ – City star opens up on his long road to a City return
- Credit: James Wilson/Focus Images Ltd
Louis Thompson was ready to give up on football – now the Norwich City midfielder is more than glad he didn't.
A ruptured Achilles, followed by a repeat of that career-changing injury just as Thompson was on the brink of completing his comeback, threw doubt over whether the 23-year-old would play again at all – never mind what level.
But on the evidence of his first run-out in a yellow shirt since November 5, 2016 – completing the second half and scoring City's third goal in a friendly win over League Two Lincoln – there is plenty Thompson can offer Daniel Farke's Championship squad, now he is back fit and available after some truly dark days.
'I came in after the second time I ruptured my Achilles, and I genuinely wanted to quit football,' conceded Thompson.
'At that stage, I hated it. I didn't trust my body, I felt like it had given up on me a little bit. Without the support of the medical team, without my fiancée and my family beside me every step of the way, it could've been a very different outcome. It's testament to them all and myself that I'm here now.
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'And now it feels fantastic. It's a bit thicker and it's supposed to be stronger than the other side now, so we'll hope that lasts.
'Believe me when I say it's been a long journey, mentally as well as physically. But that was the cream on the cake for me, just to be out there playing with the boys again. Even walking into the changing room with the music playing – I've missed that feeling.
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'The boss (Farke) has been very good to me, as has the sports science team: Glyn, Rhys, Charles have all put a lot of hard work in and as with the physios, I think I was driving them absolutely nuts over the past 18 months.
'They gave up their summer as well, not just me. They worked really hard, and that's why I'm very thankful to them.'
Tuesday night's playing return was the latest bridge for Thompson to cross – but he already has an eye on where his road is leading as the new Championship season drifts into view.
'You can immerse yourself as much as you want with the boys, but you miss out on those feelings of being involved,' he admitted.
'Coming in here, I felt a bit emotional. And especially as my goal went in. That was amazing for me.
'I came into pre-season with a goal of just being able to trust my body again. They were two pretty significant injuries and when I first started getting out on the grass, it was a big mental challenge for me. But I've overcome that now and I've surprised myself how good I've felt.
'It's been far from plain sailing. No matter how much running you do, there's nothing that prepares you for thinking while you're tired. That's the biggest thing I've seen, coming back into pre-season – but that will only improve with more training sessions and matches under my belt.
'Now my main goal is to break into the team and give the boss a dilemma. We've got a very good squad and I'm enjoying battling every day with those guys.
'I've tried to learn as much as I could about the boss' philosophy and the way that he wants to play, but it's difficult when you're on the sidelines. So hopefully I can take this opportunity in pre-season to impress him and push myself on as well.'
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