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Former Liverpool Striker Opened Up On Depression After Virgil Van Dijk Challenge

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Former Liverpool Striker Opened Up On Depression After Virgil Van Dijk Challenge

Former Liverpool striker Michael Ngoo has opened up about the depression he suffered from after an injury caused by a challenge by Virgil van Dijk.

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Ngoo started life at Southend but was signed by Liverpool aged just 17 back in 2009, for £250,000. The striker stayed with the Anfield club until 2014 without making an appearance for the first team.

After several loans during his spell in Merseyside, Ngoo moved north of the border to Kilmarnock when he left the Reds, on a two year deal.

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The striker had made just six league appearances for the club when they came up against Celtic at Parkhead, with Ngoo coming up against then Hoops defender Van Dijk, who himself is currently seriously injured.

A challenge by the Dutchman left the Londoner needing two surgeries, bones in his ankle needing screwing together, and out of the game for two years. Worse still, it left the forward feeling depressed.

"I wasn't just injured physically - I was psychologically shattered, as well," the 28-year-old told Planet Football.

"Before I had my first operation, the specialist said to me that if my rehab did not go to plan then I would not play professional football again. He made that clear.

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Ngoo during his time with Liverpool. Image: PA Images
Ngoo during his time with Liverpool. Image: PA Images

"I went through a very bad time. I'd get in my car, turn the music up and go on long and meaninglessness motorway journeys - and then I'd drive back home again.

"I was stressed and reflecting about what I should do because I thought that I might not be able to kick a ball again."

Ngoo did eventually return to football, playing for non league Bromley in 2016, and he made his way back to league football with Oldham the following year, on a short term deal.

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For the past three seasons the striker has been playing for in Albania for Tirana, even earning promotion to the Albanian Premier League with 11 goals in his first season.

Van Dijk will be able to empathise with Ngoo after losing most of this season following a challenge by Jordan Pickford. Image: PA Images
Van Dijk will be able to empathise with Ngoo after losing most of this season following a challenge by Jordan Pickford. Image: PA Images

Speaking in 2014 Ngoo was clearly angry with Van Dijk for the challenge, saying, "I told our physio right away that van Dijk had tried to do me.

"Before the tackle, there were a few words said between us. Then he came through the back of me. I think it was deliberate."

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But later he had clearly forgiven the former Southampton full back, adding, "Van Dijk apologised through John Guidetti, a friend of mine, who was on loan at Celtic at the time.

"The damage had been done, but I don't hold any grudges."

Featured Image Credit: Daily Record/PA

Topics: Liverpool, Celtic, Football, Scottish Premiership, Premier League, Virgil Van Dijk

Ryan Sidle
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