SAM BYRAM admits that 2013-14 has been a tale of frustration for him so far at Leeds United – but he is confident that the tide will turn.
The 20-year-old burst onto the scene last season and announced himself as one of the Championship’s hottest properties in thrilling fashion, which ended in him picking up a clutch of club awards.
But a serious hip injury sustained right at the end of last term stopped his progress in its tracks – with Byram revealing he had some low moments as he contemplated possibly undergoing an operation which would have kept him out for a long spell.
Rather than go under the knife, Byram was given an injection and managed to return to action on September 21 – only to then suffer a separate thigh injury at Huddersfield in October 26, which put him out for another month.
Saturday saw him make him make his first start since the West Yorkshire derby and he has now set his sights on recapturing his stellar form of 12 months ago.
Reflecting on this season so far, he said: “Frustrating would be the word I’d use.
“At the end of last season, I was thinking ‘right, now I need to push on and keep improving and get even better.’
“But I’ve spoken to loads of people in the game and they all tell me that football is full of ups and downs.
“You’ll have bad periods and then periods where you’re right up there, with some brilliant news. I’ve just tried to tell myself that this injury won’t last for ever. But it hasn’t been great.
“The gaffer’s been far more positive than I was in my head. I guess over the years you learn how to handle the feeling of being injured, but I was getting quite down. There was a period where there didn’t seem like there was much improvement. So I was thinking ‘if something needs doing then let’s do it.’
“But the gaffer was telling me that I was getting stronger every day. We gave the injection a try and it worked. I feel really good, I’m having no problems physically. I just need match fitness.
“Injury wise, I’m absolutely fine now. I’ve had no pain or problems for the past four or five weeks.
“There’s only 15 to 20 gone so far, so I’ve got loads of football to get stuck into this season.”