Woodgate is hurt again (although this time it's just his pride)
Published 08:05 13/08/11 By Jeremy Butler
Jonathan Woodgate is delighted to be playing in the Premier League rather than getting up at four in the morning to watch it!
The England defender starts for Stoke tomorrow against Chelsea, having finally put his injury hell behind him.
Woodgate joined the Potters having not played a full 90 minutes since featuring in Spurs 9-1 defeat of Wigan in November 2009.
Since then, he has battled to recover from a groin problem that threatened to wreck his career.
He got through Stoke’s Europa Cup defeat of Hajduk Split last week, and now aims to make the most of his run-out when handed his Premier League debut with Tony Pulis' men.
“All I want to do at the moment is play football, because I have missed it so much," said the 31-year-old.
“I really missed it when I was in Australia and New York getting treatment - I was getting up at 4am to watch the Premier League.
“You are sat in a hotel, not feeling part of football at that point. It felt like I imagine it will feel when I stop playing football.
"You want to play because you miss the dressing room banter.’’
Woodgate is determined to make up for lost time having missed large chunks of his career through injury.
"I feel behind where I should be at this stage in my career," he added.
"It was good to play that 90 minutes the other day. It gave me a lot of confidence. It has been disappointing in the past with all the games I have missed.
"Hopefully I can kick on now.’’
The defender is also keen to lose his tag as one of football’s leading sick-notes.
"Too much is made of my injuries," said Woodgate. "Every time I get a nick, people think that’s me out for the season.
"It’s quite annoying, but I have learned to get over it. It’s life.
"I like proving people wrong. It builds your character when people don’t think you will get back."
WOODY'S WOES: THE JINXED STAR'S INJURY HISTORY
Jan 2003 Thigh problem, but joins Newcastle from Leeds
Sep 2003 Double hernia op, sidelined for two months
Feb 2004 Misses an England friendly with groin problem
May 2004 Torn thigh muscle rules him out of Euro 2004
Nov 2005 Comes back from thigh trouble at Real Madrid but injures hamstring
May 2007 Exploratory knee op
Nov 2009 Start of long-term groin problems
Feb 2011 Comeback from groin problems but pulls adductor muscle