Crichlow remains upbeat despite injury setback
Kane Crichlow has vowed to return stronger than before from injury and fulfil his ambition of making his Watford debut by the end of the season.
The 18-year-old had enjoyed an encouraging start to his career at Vicarage Road, since signing from Sky Bet League One outfit AFC Wimbledon last summer, including travelling to Austria as part of a pre-season tour under former manager Javi Garcia.
However, his progression was dealt a blow last month after suffering a broken ankle while taking part in first-team training after going in for a tackle with defender Daryl Janmaat.
“Myself and Daryl both went for a tackle and unfortunately he ended taking the ball and me,” said Crichlow, who had been invited to train with the first team by new head coach Quique Sánchez Flores after impressing for the under-23s this season.
“I knew straight away something wasn’t right. I thought I heard a crack and I knew it was bad because the same thing happened last year to my other ankle.
“I was taken straight to the physio’s room and then to the hospital to have a cast put on it. Thankfully, I didn’t need surgery, which was is important because it means the recovery time isn’t so long.
“I was told it would be a total of 12 weeks and I’m coming into the fourth week, hopefully in another week or two I can put some partial weight on it.
“It’s obviously frustrating but it’s part of the game unfortunately. Not many players will get through a career without picking up injuries. I’m just going to concentrate on the recovery and come back stronger than before.”
While the recovery process can be a challenging time both mentally and physically for any athlete, Crichlow has been given a helping hand after first-team midfielder Nathaniel Chalobah took it upon himself to take the youngster in, offering him not only accommodation and transport, but invaluable support after recovering from his own major injury problems.
“Nathaniel has been brilliant to me, and myself and my parents are really appreciative,” Crichlow added. “We got on really well during the trip to Austria and as soon as I got injured him and his girlfriend offered to take me in.
“They make sure I’m eating right and get to training. They’ve been a massive help and I’m incredibly grateful for that support network. He had his own injury issues last year and so he knows exactly what it is like to come back.
“His injury was a lot worse than mine and so he’s just been giving me advice, telling me to remain positive and that I’ll be back for I know it; it’s been brilliant to have as support.”
Crichlow conceded to suffering frustrations during his rehabilitation, but he is determined to remain focused on his recovery, get back into Sanchez Flores’s plans and ultimately fulfil a dream of making his senior debut for the club.
“The mental side of an injury is tough, but I know through the rehab process that I’m working towards something to get me back out on the field,” he said.
“That’s my motivation; it’s all about getting back out on the pitch and getting involved again.
“The manager has asked how I’m getting on and told me just to keep mentally strong and given me a lot of encouragement. It’s great to have support because it shows that the manager is keeping me in his thoughts and seeing how I’m getting on.”
Crichlow added: “My first aim is to get fit as quickly as I can and come back better than I was before. The main aim for this season is to get among the first team and ultimately make my senior debut for Watford, whether that be in the Premier League or one of the cup competitions.”
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