BY IAIN COLLIN – @CCP_sport
Robert Snodgrass insists he has ‘learned a lot’ about himself during a nightmare 15 months on the sidelines.
And the resolute Scotland internationalist is adamant there was no way he was going to be ‘broken’ by his gruelling recovery from a serious knee injury.
The Hull City attacker made just his second substitute’s appearance since dislocating his kneecap last August when he came on for the final nine minutes of Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to old club Leeds United.
The 28-year-old, who made his long-awaited top-team comeback against Manchester City last Tuesday, has had to endure a long road back – and has missed a lot of football for both club and country – since crumpling to the turf in pain at the start of last season.
However, the focused former Livingston and Norwich City player has spoken of his determination to ensure the injury would not get the better of him has he battled back to fitness.
“It never came close to breaking me,” he said. “There are more important things in life than not being able to play football.
“You see football as a bonus, after where I have been. Life moves on, football or not.
“The players were still preparing for games even though Robert Snodgrass was injured. Slowly but surely, you get your head round that.
“I didn’t take football for granted when I was younger but you do get built up from a young age to believe you are unbreakable.
“You can fly into a tackle, you can go by someone, you can score a goal – you have to believe you are the best.
“(It’s) a bit like a boxer, in that he has to believe he is the best or he will never beat an opponent.
“That is exactly the way I felt every time I entered the training ground or the park, believing I could beat my opponent.”
Snodgrass had to sit and watch helplessly as Hull succumbed to relegation last season and as Scotland failed to qualify for the Euro 2016 finals in France next summer.
However, he is proud of the way he has dealt with such a lengthy comeback and the roller-coaster of emotions along the way.
“I’d known from the very start that it was likely to be a tough time,” he told the Hull Daily Mail. “But the results now show me that I haven’t cut any corners.
“I have had to retrain myself. In terms of rehab, I didn’t know what is what. The physios have had to tell me what to do.
“Something always came up to challenge me, to slow things down. I had to focus on each session as it came along.
“I have learned a lot about myself, about my character and mental strength. That is a huge part of rehab.
“It was difficult, I can’t lie to you, but I got here and I’m smiling.”