Oxford United head for Forest Green Rovers this evening but for one young defender this season’s Bristol Street Motors Trophy is always going to spark a huge range of emotions.
George Franklin made his senior debut for the U’s in the competition this season, having a fine game at right back at Northampton away in September. However, with the game coming to a conclusion George’s season turned upside down, as he told iFollow.
“It was such a great feeling to make my debut and be part of the team. I have been at the club since I was nine, I’ve played for the age groups and I’d had that dream for so long so it was a very proud moment. I was nervous. I didn’t think I would be but I started the game by giving the ball away! But then I settled down- the senior players really helped me do that - and I felt like I did OK.
“Then it got to injury time and I just felt something go in my knee…”
At the time most people thought it was cramp, understandable given the occasion, but in fact George had damaged his ACL, even if he didn’t realise it immediately…
“I felt something go in my knee and was in quite a bit of pain but after a few seconds it went away. Amy Cranston came over and I said ‘I think I’m alright, I can play on” but she just sort of looked at me and said “George…I don’t think so…”. Things went downhill from there really!
“I woke up at 3am the next morning in pain and the knee had swollen up. The adrenaline had worn off. I had been buzzing because it was such a big occasion so maybe I hadn’t come to terms with the injury. When it was all confirmed I was gutted. I had the scan, the results came through and I’m not going to lie, it was a bit of an emotional one. But I have come to terms with it now and am three months on and doing all I can to get back playing.
“I am still feeling very positive. I have support all around me and can’t thank people inside the club enough, and the fans who have been very supportive. The plan now is to be back out on the pitches in February. Having those small targets all the time is important; set small goals then smash them and keep working.
“And then the ultimate goal is to come back fitter and stronger than ever. That’s what keeps me going, and I am sure I will do that.”
See the full interview in iFollow where we will catch up with George again soon as he continues his progress through the season.