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7 January 2023



7 January 2023

Having spent three months out with a hamstring injury, Kareem Hassan-Smith made his comeback for our U21s against Birmingham City on Friday afternoon.

The energetic full-back got an hour under his belt and looked lively going forward, with several surging runs down the right flank and a couple of firm challenges thrown in for good measure.

“I was very excited to be back in,” he asserted. “It’s been a long three months out after the hamstring injury, so I was excited and looking forward to getting back in. 

“There’s no amount of training and rehab that prepares you for an actual game, so towards the end, I was feeling my legs and lungs burning a bit, but it was good to be back.”

Despite the frustration of being sidelined for an extended period of time, the youngster’s recovery was relatively seamless as he went about his rehabilitation programme.

There’s a concern with muscle damage of suffering a recurrence of the injury, but all that is behind Hassan-Smith now as he aims to kick on this term under Tom Harban.

“Fortunately, it is only the first big injury I’ve ever had, so it was difficult to know what to expect with the rehab and stuff but, to be honest, it went quite quick at the time and was smooth as well,” he continued.

“I didn’t have any setbacks with the injury, so thankfully it all went well.”

As well as Hassan-Smith, our U21s were able to welcome back Charlie Winfield and Aiden Marsh, who were making their respective returns from a damaged ACL and fractured foot.

The 20-year-old – who celebrated his birthday on Friday – was delighted to be back out on the pitch with the pair and was pleased with his own personal performance.

“It was nice to be back with Marshy and Chaz – I’ve not played with them in a long time, so hopefully we can just keep building up our fitness, keep improving and getting the results and individual performances as well,” insisted Hassan-Smith.

“I think I did alright, to be fair. I tagged quite a few times, took on my man, got crosses into the box and got up and down, so I think I did well. Hopefully I can keep building and improving from that.”

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