Junior Stanislas reveals 'hardest thing in football' & plans after retirement

Bournemouth winger Junior Stanislas has opened up on the injury battles he has struggled with throughout much of his career, admitting being injured is ‘the hardest thing in football’.

Stanilsas was playing regularly in the Premier League for West Ham at the age of 20, having joined the Hammers at academy level when he was only 10. But despite later playing lots of games for Burnley, his time at Bournemouth since 2014 has been limited in terms of appearances.

Even after playing 35 times in the Championship last season for the Cherries and enjoying the best goalscoring campaign of his career to date, the 31-year-old has again been out of action so far in 2021/22.

“Injuries are the hardest thing in football and [in 2020/21] I played more games than in my entire career. But I would play five, six games, get an injury, keep me out for a month,” he told the latest episode of the On the Judy podcast.

“Three or four years ago I had some surgeries, operations where I’d torn my meniscus, took my hamstring off the bone, those sorts of things that are bigger ones.

“When you’re out for, like, six or seven months, those are difficult because you’re seeing the team training and playing, you’ve had enough of doing gym and strength work, bike sessions, and all of the stuff that people don’t see. You just want to play.

“When it becomes a routine and a habit of playing this many games, getting an injury, then you get messages, ‘Ah, he’s injured again’. You start getting that repetition of injuries and you are just trying to do the best you can do. Everyone wants to be fit, everyone wants to play games and hep the team, but when you’re in that cycle, it becomes difficult.”

Stanislas explained that he has always put hard work and hasn’t cheated himself by cutting corners.

“If you ask anyone that I play with, I would go as far as to say I’m one of the most professional people, honestly,” he said.

Stanislas has been with Bournemouth since 2014 | Naomi Baker/GettyImages

“In terms of food, I will eat normal food, but if we’ve got a day off, I will come in on my day off to do my recovery stuff. I have people come to my house to do massage and treatment. I’ll stay long after training to do pool sessions, hot and cold massages, all of that kind of stuff.

“But yet I was still getting injured. There were certain things in my body that weren’t right and I had to go elsewhere to get it looked it. Now, I can see the benefit of it.”

Stanislas, who also briefly played for Southend on loan in the early stages of his professional career, added that, despite regular injury problems, he has never thought about giving up football.

“[Football] is the only thing I know. Stopping playing football is one thing, but what are you going to do after? It’s what I know so I had to just kind of get on with it and go through it,” he said.

“I’ve never ever woken up thinking, ‘I don’t want to go to training’. I’ve woken up before thinking, ‘My body is mash up today, I don’t know how I’m going to train’, but I’ve never woken up thinking, ‘I don’t want to go into training’. Because there is going to come a time where you want to go into training and you can’t, your body can’t do it anymore. And then you’re going to miss that side of it.”

As for what comes next, he is already preparing himself to stay in the sport by working his way through the various professional coaching qualifications.

“It’s not even that I necessarily want to be a coach, but I started doing coaching badges two or three years ago,” Stanislas explained.

“So I’ve got a couple of them, got up to UEFA B and might start doing the A next summer. I always want to have something to do, if worst comes to worst, and I love football. I like coaching, because to do those badges you have to coach some of the kids, so I enjoy that side of it.”

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Source : 90min