Alan Smith reveals 'nobody knew' whether he could keep playing upon Man Utd comeback in 2006
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Former Manchester United forward Alan Smith has opened up on the emotions surrounding his first goal at Old Trafford following his horror leg break in 2007 - and how he didn’t know whether he could carry on playing when he made his comeback.
Smith scored the second goal in United’s infamous 7-1 win over Roma in the Champions League quarter-final - his first goal at Old Trafford since before his leg break and dislocated ankle suffered in January 2006.
The 43-year-old has previously revealed that surgeons were unsure whether he would able to play professional football again after the injury.
But in an interview with SPORTbible and speaking about Premier League Betting with BoyleSports, Smith revealed that even when he returned to action first time, coaches and medical staff were still uncertain over whether he could carry on.
He explained: “It was my first game [against Roma], my first start for over 15 months.
“I’d played against Crewe in the Carling Cup, and I just knew I was not ready to play. It was just a bit of a tester to see what the next stage was, because nobody really knew.
“I never got back to the levels that I was at before the injury, but no-one really knew if I should even bother carrying on realistically, because of where you’re at.”
But with the help and support of a number of figures at United, Smith did manage to work his way back into the team - culminating with his goal in the win over Roma that sent Sir Alex Ferguson’s side through to the semi-final.
Smith recalled how Ferguson described the victory as one of United’s great European nights, with Cristiano Ronaldo blowing away the opposition in a dominant display.
He also spoke about how well United had supported him during his recovery, and claimed that there was no club he would rather be at having suffered such a serious injury.
He explained: “For me, it was a case of, there was a lot of people over that 15-16 month period that I’d become very close to at the club, all people that were still motivating you through a very difficult period. They were all so supportive.
“It was a period of time where people like that, and the physios and staff, they were keeping you so motivated. The night, I hope, was so good for everybody.
“It was all their work, combined with the hard work that I’d put in, and the trust of the club itself to look after me in such a way that they did in such a difficult period of time.
“I feel like, if you’re going to have an injury, I was fortunate to be such a great club. There was no, ‘We need to rush to get you back because we’re paying your wages’. There were no shortcuts taken in my recovery.”