Before Nathaniel Clyne’s back injury during pre-season last summer, the right back was considered by most to be one of Liverpool’s best, a star at his position and England’s likely starter at the 2018 World Cup.
A year later and he can seem nearly forgotten, such was the strong play of youngster Trent Alexander-Arnold. Clyne is fit again, though, and after a frustrating year he’s looking to pre-season with a point to prove.
“To be out for so long is frustrating, and the fact that it came during pre-season probably made it even worse,” Clyne told Goal. “Then to eventually have to have surgery, that was another setback, it was tough.
“You’re there, and the players are all going out to train while you’re off to the gym or the physio room, day after day. You’re on the bike or whatever, and that’s all you can do. It does affect you.”
A year out, though—or most of a year, with Clyne managing five appearances late on in the 2017-18 season—means that even if he’s fit, it will take time for him to look the player he did before the setback.
And while there are no guarantees, a fit and on form Clyne is still the club’s best right back. If he can get back to that, it will give them enviable depth across the back line and set the Reds up to be even stronger in 2018-19.
“It was important for me to get a few minutes under my belt,” he added. “Get a taste for it again and set me up to go again in pre-season. I’ve worked hard to get my fitness back, and I can feel the benefits.
“I probably need that more than others because I’ve been out so long. I feel as fit as ever and I’m looking forward to the start of pre-season. It’s about proving to people now that I’m back and I’m as good as ever.”