FA Cup Final 2014: Hull's David Meyler relishing Wembley chance after injury torment
Wednesday 14 May 2014
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."
Latest in Sport
Paul Scholes: Manchester United vs Liverpool - I don't understand why Brendan Rodgers was not more attacking against Basel
Jesus Christ plays for Chelsea - that's what one in five children thinks
Transfer Talk: Nemanja Vidic to return to Manchester United; Hazard to leave Chelsea; Sunderland want Radamel Falcao
Frank Warren column: Don't bet on Amir Khan landing pay day against Floyd Mayweather
Manchester United transfer news: Kevin Strootman move edges closer
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food