Carving a career in the Big Apple
There’s a storm brewing! The weather in America is both weird and wonderful. I’ve been living in sunshine for most of it, but the last weekend of August we has a hurricane (she was called Irene). That’s on top of the earthquake we had a few days previously, which in itself was a new experience. I honestly didn’t know what was happening. I was looking at everyone they were all looking at me just in total amazement as the room began to shake.
As a safety precaution they cancelled the game against LA Galaxy that was scheduled for the Sunday. They said if anyone could get away for the weekend do it, otherwise stock up on supplies and just don’t leave your house. It might sound scary but it didn’t bother me that much, I just had some friends round and waited it out.
You’re probably sick of reading about my injury, I know I’m sick of talking about it. I’ve not done anything this month; not played, not trained, nothing. It’s a unique injury because very little is really known about plantar fasciitis. There are no experts in it, so it’s a case of chuck a thousand pins at the wall and hope one sticks. I’ve had all sorts of treatment, including Cortisone injections.
With me actually tearing the muscle, they’ve also been giving me a new kind of injection known as ‘PRP’ (Platelet Rich Plasma). Basically they take the best blood in your body - which is apparently in your arm - and put in in a machine that spins it round at great speed in order to separate the white and red blood cells. They then insert the blood into your foot to aid the healing process. I’m telling you, all this time around Doctors, I think I’m only a few night classes away from a degree in Medicine!
I’d rather have something like a broken arm to be honest, because at least that way you know how long you’re out for. Plus with something like a broken arm you can still do things to keep yourself busy, whereas with a foot related injury the club really doesn't want you doing anything remotely strenuous. That means no concerts or shopping, I’ve basically been a hermit inside the apartment for the last month.
Although one thing I can do is Skype. I’ve just got that so I can stay in touch with people back home, and it’s great. I know a lot of players like to use Twitter these days, and I’ve had a few people ask if I’m on it, but I’ll be blunt - I just don’t get it. People 'tweet' stuff like ‘I’ve just been to the shops’ - who really cares?
Obviously last month was the Emirates Cup, which I was gutted to miss. The lads did a fantastic job in winning it though, I was really proud of their efforts and for me it proved just how legitimate the MLS is. The league’s reputation is clearly growing, my agents even had contact from clubs back home asking about my situation. It’s ironic that it took traveling six thousand miles away for clubs to notice me!
I’m really happy in New York though, it’s the best decision I’ve ever made, and I've not regretted a second of it. Now Robbie Keane has joined the league, that should further improve the quality. Teemu Tainio knows him from his time at Spurs and said he’s a smashing lad so I hope he does well. Like I say, it’s starting to pick up now and I've even had old friends asking me to help them get out here.
In terms of our league form though, it’s not been ideal - we’ve had a lot of draws. That said, I was reading that this MLS season has had more draws than any before, so at least our rivals are suffering it too. I think we just need one victory to get us going and we’ll be back in business.
One thing that’s very different about this league to the leagues back in England is the structure. We don’t have to finish top of our conference to win the MLS Cup. Of course, it would be nice to be ‘Eastern Conference Champions’ but no one remembers that, it’s all about who wins MLS Cup because they get the publicity.
If I’m honest it sometimes means you’re not watching the league constantly, because all you have to do is qualify for the play-offs. I’d liken it to a mini Champions League - you can afford a slip up or two in the earlier stages, as long as you come good later on.
Speaking of Europe, obviously I miss the coverage of football back home, but I’ve you can keep up with it all online these days. I guess with the weather closing in I should have a fair amount of time to catch up with stuff back home.
As for next month, it’s just more rehab work and hopefully getting back onto the pitch. I really think I’m close to a return, and with the Galaxy game being rescheduled there’s still a chance I could score the winner...
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