DAVID Wheeler is back with his latest column for the R's official website.
After the personal highs of getting my first start, goal and man of the match award at the Riverside, I had to endure my first setback at the club so far.
An unfortunate strain of my quad in training meant that I was forced to sit out of our home draw to Burton. However, I was relieved that the injury was minor and that I was able to take my place on the bench at Barnsley the following week.
Injuries have a huge influence on a team’s prospects for the season, and a player’s prospects for their career. The timing and severity of injuries can disrupt the cohesion and momentum of the team. One injured player can cause a cascade of events which leads to a different selection, perhaps followed by a change in formation, and then maybe even a change in style.
Ultimately, this could be the determining factor in a change of fortunes for the team, good or bad. Most players are faced with a decision on their injuries on an almost weekly basis, whilst fully aware of the aforementioned ramifications.
Multiple paths of how to deal with an injury are available and experience does not always lead to choosing the right path. There have been times I have played with a ‘knock’ or a strain and luckily avoided exacerbating the problem. Other times I have made the problem worse or created new problems.
It is about navigating your way through a season and a career, constantly trying to make the sensible decision for yourself and your team after all the risk assessments. The trouble is that when you are faced with a local derby, a cup final, a televised game or a top of the table clash - depending on your motivations - the gamble can become irresistible. This dilemma is commonplace in football and the decisions made can sometimes make or break what is an undoubtedly privileged, but highly volatile career.
After drawing a blank against a very well organised and defensive minded Burton side it was perhaps a welcome relief to play a more free flowing game against Barnsley. Despite this, both sides seemed to struggle to create many clear cut chances. It was a wonder strike from either side which prevented successive 0-0 draws, something no-one would wish for!
The following game would be televised against local rivals Fulham. A very fortuitous opener from the visitors broke the deadlock in the first half but after a missed penalty we felt confident we would get back into the game. Three changes brought myself, Matt and Conor into the action to push for a win and despite the latter grabbing a goal, and Matt reliably causing mayhem in the opposition goalmouth, we were again left to reflect on what might’ve been.
I was deeply saddened by the recent news from Las Vegas that many people were killed or injured whilst attending a music festival. These were innocent people on a night out to enjoy a favourite artist and it’s truly devastating what has happened. It has also revealed the shocking statistic that, since 1968, more people have been killed in the US by gun crime than in all wars put together. Urgent and immediate reform on gun laws is essential. Sadly, it is unlikely to come from a President who has received more funding from the gun industry than any of his predecessors.