'Lazarus' Has Risen - Reid Returns!

Picture this, you are a top professional footballer, captain of your country and a fearsome warrior, you have just come back from a worryingly long injury, one of an increasing number, and you go to head the ball in a game against Swansea, minutes later you regain consciousness on a stretcher which is about to become your transport in to a nineteen month nightmare, This is what happened to Winston Reid!

It is easy to forget that Winston Reid was one of the first players on the match day team sheets, his services were coveted by a whole host of 'top' clubs, both British and European and he was one of the club's most valuable assets, which is why he was awarded a six year deal on £70,000 per week in order to fend off the 'circling vultures' which included both Arsenal and Tottenham.

Unfortunately not long after signing the deal, Reid had a series of injuries that ranged from the niggly to the more serious, the combination of which saw him only play less than half the games that season, and the injury difficulties followed him in to the next season, albeit slightly less. So, following the aforementioned nineteen months out through injury during which Winston Reid only managed to play three games including two friendlies, it has come as a welcome relief to the player, his family, the club, it's medical staff and a lot of Hammers fans that he made his long awaited injury comeback for the West Ham Under 23 team on Tuesday night after what has seemed a lifetime.

The recovering Kiwi centre back played a pre-planned 62 minutes for the youngsters in their 3-2 Premier League International Cup defeat to Wolfsburg B at the Rush Green Training Ground, before being replaced by 15 year old Jamal Baptiste. The great news is that so far there are no new injury issues, and that the players integration to the main squad is on course. Manuel Pellegini's post match observation was that “We will see how Winston reacts now. Next time, he will play a complete game, and then we will see how he does training with the first team.” It is going to be a long process.

Ried's 'Lazarus' like recovery is a lot more than just a player coming back from injury, fully fir or not Reid is a warrior, and while it will undoubtedly take him a long time to get back to match fitness, and he will probably never be quite the player he once was, his presence should not be underestimated. How many games, particularly at home, have the crowd called out for someone to 'get stuck in', the most recent example of which was Robert Snodgrass's performance against Sheffield United, it may not have been elegant, but it was what people who have worked a hard week wanted to see, someone putting a shift in!

Winston Reid never shirked from a challenge, he scored the winning goal at the Boleyn Ground's last ever match, he deserves the chance to have another go, and if the injury Gods grant him the chance then no one, not just from West Ham, but within the Football fraternity would begrudge him the opportunity. - Ed


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