Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Meyler's Back but a Long Road Ahead

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Meyler's Back but a Long Road Ahead

Article excerpt

Byline: Stuart Rayner

DAVID Meyler returned to training this week after cruciate ligament damage, but it will be some time before the Irishman is back in red-and-white stripes.

Along with Jordan Henderson, Sunderland midfielder Meyler was one of the finds of last season. The young midfielders were handed five-year contracts as reward for impressive maiden seasons as established firstteamers.

But while Henderson's star continues to rise - with rumours he is on the verge of elevation to the full England squad only weeks after his Under-21 debut - Meyler's progress has been stalled by a horrific injury picked up against Manchester United in May.

"Meyler is running round cock-a-hoop round the training ground, which is great," confirmed his manager, Steve Bruce. "It still might be a year for the lad but he has given himself every opportunity. Now he is just waiting to get the official go-ahead to join in with everything. It's fantastic for him and the club."

Having only made his Sunderland debut until after Christmas, the 21-yearold played 12 times last season. It would have been more were it not for February's red card, at Portsmouth in the league.

Meyler's return was symptomatic of a much-improved medical bulletin from the Stadium of Light ahead of Monday's trip to Blackburn Rovers.

"Kieran (Richardson) has a chance, (as have Craig) Gordon, Anton (Ferdinand), (John) Mensah but Benty (Darren Bent) is the big one for us," said Bruce.

Ferdinand has other problems than just physical concerns. The younger brother of England captain Rio was this week arrested after failing to answer a court summons for talking on his mobile phone while driving. Bruce has no fears it will affect the defender.

"He will be rightly sanctioned," said the manager. "But he's okay, he will be involved with the game."

Meanwhile, Bruce has described David Healy as a "victim of the Premier League" as the Ulsterman's career took another slide this week. …

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