FA Cup Final 2014: Hull's David Meyler relishing Wembley chance after injury torment

David Meyler has more reasons than most to be grateful for the chance to walk out at Wembley.

The 24-year-old Republic of Ireland midfielder is likely to start in Hull City's first ever FA Cup final when they face Arsenal on Saturday and as he prepares for the game he is acutely aware of how lucky he will be, having once feared he would not walk properly again, let alone play football. Two serious injuries to his right knee threatened to wreck his career.

Cork-born Meyler was pushing to establish himself in the Sunderland team under Steve Bruce, now his manager at Hull, when he suffered the first injury. It came against Manchester United in May 2010, when Meyler was carried off after damaging his cruciate ligament.

The best guess for recovery was 12 months, if at all, but Meyler fought back after seven months, only for injury to strike again five matches into his comeback. It was in the same knee, but this time the damage was to his medial ligament.

"I was told I might never walk properly again," Meyler said. "That gives you a bit of context, to play in an FA Cup final. I don't know if I will be playing yet, obviously, but to have the opportunity would be fantastic.

"I had made a right mess of my leg, I thought I would not be right for a long time. The first time [it felt really] bad, the second time felt like someone had broken my fingernail but it was the same length of time I needed after the first injury."

Meyler is indebted, in Cup final week more than ever, to Steve Bollen, a surgeon working in Bingley, West Yorkshire, who operated on his knee on both occasions.

"He did a fantastic job on both [injuries] for me, so I have to thank him for looking after me," Meyler said.

"I would not say it drives me on but I appreciate the small things a lot more. When you spend 18 months out injured it is never nice. When you are training every day you relish it and enjoy it."

After a staggered return to the Sunderland first team, Meyler signed for Hull in January 2013 after a brief loan spell. He has made six appearances in the Cup for Hull this season, playing in every round. Aside from his injury-blighted days, there is another reason for Meyler to feel fortunate about the opportunity he will have on Saturday.

He was caught on video appearing to stamp on Adnan Januzaj, the Manchester United winger, at Old Trafford last week. Meyler feared retrospective punishment and a ban that would rule him out of the final. Luckily for Meyler, referee Craig Pawson reported that he had seen the incident, meaning the Football Association took no further action.

"The referee realised there was no malice," Meyler said. "There was a worry and some anxiety [on my part]. Sometimes things can be taken the wrong way but it is all done and dusted now and I can look forward to the Cup final. It will be a fantastic day and I believe we are going to win it."

News
election 2015The 10 best quotes of the campaign
News
A caravan being used as a polling station in Ford near Salisbury, during the 2010 election
election 2015The Independent's guide to get you through polling day
News
people
Voices
David Blunkett joins the Labour candidate for Redcar Anna Turley on a campaigning visit last month
voicesWhat I learnt from my years in government, by the former Home Secretary David Blunkett
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'