Alan Smith leg break: Ex-Man Utd player still feels effects of injury v Liverpool in 2006 | OneFootball

Alan Smith leg break: Ex-Man Utd player still feels effects of injury v Liverpool in 2006

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Former Manchester United forward Alan Smith is reportedly still struggling with the after effects of the horrendous injury he suffered while playing against Liverpool in 2006.

Smith sustained an awful broken leg and dislocated ankle while defending a John Arne Riise free-kick at Anfield in the closing stages of an FA Cup firth-round tie at Anfield.

Riise fancied his chances from 40 yards but his powerful left-footed strike was bravely charged down by Smith, whose United teammates knew something was badly wrong.

Edwin van der Sar and Gary Neville immediately called for United’s medical staff to rush over and help, while Ruud van Nistelrooy walked away from the scene with his hands over his face.

“It is a bad one,” Sir Alex Ferguson, who converted Smith into a defensive midfielder, said at the time. “He has gone to hospital, it looks very long term – it is one of the worst I have seen.”

United beat Wigan Athletic in the League Cup final weeks later and players wore t-shirts printed with the words ‘For you Smudge’ in tribute to their injured teammates.

Smith spent eight months on the sidelines before making a return to action but left Old Trafford for Newcastle United at the end of the 2006-07 season.

Smith went on to play for MK Dons and Notts County before hanging up his boots in 2018.

Alan Smith still feels the effects of 2006 leg break

But in the same year, the former England international revealed he still suffered from the consequences of blocking Riise’s free-kick.

Smith has “about 10 pins” in his ankle and hobbles every day he gets out of bed. Sixteen years later and he’s still suffering, according to The Sun.

“I knew with the injury it would be touch and go whether I could carry on playing – the surgeon said that,” he told The Mirror.

“It would have been easier to walk away and people remember you as a top Premier League player.

“But I didn’t want that, because I loved playing football. Your love of it makes you go through the pain barrier.

“Most of people I have played with, and managers, have respected me for staying in football when it would have been easy to walk away.

“But I dropped down to the Championship, dropped down to League One and dropped down to League Two.

“Loads of people would say to me, ‘Why I am bothering?’ Whether I was earning £500-a-week or nothing, if people felt I could still contributed I wanted to keep playing.”

Smith added: “The injury made me a better person after doing so well so young.

“I learnt at any time, football can be over. I am lucky through sheer grit and determination I carried on playing.

“The good people I met lower down the leagues probably drove me on to stay in football longer. But by the end, the day-to-day training was doing more harm than good.

“I couldn’t compete at a level I felt I could easily before. I get out of bed and can’t walk properly, my ankle is stiff all the time.

“I went for a run in the summer and managed to do a couple of miles but stopped and started walking because my ankle was hurting. I went back last month and the surgeon said, ‘I don’t want you doing any straight-line running’, just because it will damage the joint.

“It is always difficult to walk away but when you see someone and they don’t want you running, you know it is the right decision. I have no regrets, for me I see retiring early being the easy option.”

What does ex-footballer Alan Smith do now?

What did Smith do after retiring?

The 41-year-old applied for a US visa so that he could move to Florida and coach youngsters.

The Yorkshireman also took up surfing, spending six hours in the water on his first go until he could stand on the board.

It sounds like Smith, despite feeling the effects of that terrible injury, is still making the most of life post-retirement.

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