COMEBACK kid Mike Williamson was understandably delighted to be again involved with the Newcastle United first-team – and admits he did not think he would spend as much time as he did on the treatment table.
Williamson made his return to the starting XI and put in an impressive shift alongside Fabricio Coloccini at the centre of defence as United kept Bolton to a blank during Boxing Day’s 2-0 win at the Reebok Stadium. His comeback has come at a welcome time for boss Alan Pardew.
He recently lost Steven Taylor for the rest of the season thanks to injury, and the past two weeks have seen the likes of Danny Simpson and James Perch playing out of position while Williamson (pictured right) continued his rehabilitation.
Williamson himself was relieved to make a successful return, but conceded he was puzzled at first as to why the ankle injury which made him hobble off at half-time in United’s League Cup win at Scunthorpe in August turned out to be so serious.
He said: “It has been a while and it has been very frustrating.
“I have been out for a quite a while, so it is nice to come back and help keep a clean sheet.
“The result could not have been better. At the time, I did not think the injury would be as serious as it proved.
“Initially, I tried to run it off because I did not know what I had done.
“It turned out to be a strange twist involving my knee and my ankle.
“When it was looked at the next day, I quickly realised the length of time I was going to be out for.
“It is one of those things in football, an occupational hazard I suppose.
“It has been a long time to reflect, but I have done good rehab and the medical team here have worked me hard. I feel
good. The last week of my rehab has been accelerated a bit. My thoughts go out to Steven because he hs done very well and the team has done very well with him in it.
“It is one of those things that happens in football and it cannot be helped.
“I am sure he will come back fitter and stronger than ever.”
Williamson, meanwhile, has paid tribute to Perch who he feels did well in the difficult task of filling the gap for him before he was ready to come back into the team.
He added: “It is easy to come into a team where everyone works as hard as they do here.
“We have a good team spirit. James Perch has done very well in the last few games and I am sure it was difficult for the manager to leave him out.
“I am a big fan of him. He has come in and done very well, and it was unfortunate for him.
“It was my gain. I got to play and I am glad of that.”
Now that he is back, Williamson feels he has nothing to prove and just wants to focus on playing well and staying injury-free.
He continued: “I played the last half of the Championship season and the whole of the first season in the Premier League barring the last few games, so I don’t really feel as though I have to establish myself or anything like that.
“I have had a good period in the team here, it is just unfortunate I have also had two injuries along the way.
“It would be nice to stay injury- free now and just concentrate on putting some good performances in.”