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Former Fulham midfielder Liam Donnelly enjoying new season

last updated Wednesday 18th December 2019, 6:05 PM

Fulham Football Club

Former Fulham midfielder Liam Donnelly
Former Fulham midfielder
Liam Donnelly
Liam Donnelly
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Former Fulham midfielder Liam Donnelly’s is enjoying a magnificent start to the new season in Scotland, including ten goals, as his club Motherwell sit comfortably in fourth spot in the Scottish Premier.

The 23-year-old, who was also recalled to the Northern Ireland squad by Michael O’Neill last week after an absence of five years.

The Northern Irishman was once a promising prospect at Fulham. He captained some of the youth teams and had been fast-tracked into first-team pre-season plans as a teenager.

Sadly for him though, an injury prevented him from making further progress before he ended up at Hartlepool. The Steelman has opened up on the ordeal.

He told the Scottish Daily Mail “I wouldn’t say I thought everything was easy at that time but I felt I was doing really well. I had probably felt an injury, while I was away with Northern Ireland and in pre-season it blew up straight away.

“I won’t name any names. But a senior member of the medical team told me not to show the manager any weakness. That was the mentality. But I could barely jog around the pitch. Your career can hinge on moments like that. I was out for three months trying to manage it manually — it was pelvis, abdominals — then I ended up needing an operation.

“I was out for seven months and basically missed that whole season. Look, maybe nothing would have come of it. But we had just got relegated into the Championship and there were a lot of young lads promoted into the first team. I ended up having another year with Fulham but I didn’t get close to the first team. But for the injury, who knows what might have happened?”

After captaining youth sides with the likes of Moussa Dembele in them, it’s no wonder Donnelly feels a little hard done by. Had he been properly advised, perhaps he could’ve become a Fulham regular.

That’s behind him now though and will always be left as a question of what could’ve been. His drop down the leagues may have damaged his confidence, but at Motherwell, he’s found a new lease of life.

A difficult first season has been put to one side with a strong campaign this term. In front of the back four, Donnelly’s been a rock, scoring nine goals in Motherwell’s strong 2019/20 campaign. It’s even earned him some senior Northern Ireland call-ups.

His Fulham end though doesn’t sound like something he looks back on with much fondness though.

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