Beevers back as midfielder

FORGOTTON man Lee Beevers could be reborn as a midfield enforcer following a season of injury hell.

The 26-year-old finally returned to reserve team action last week after missing virtually his entire first season at the club through a combination of shoulder and knee injuries.

And having played the majority of career across the back four, Beevers might now find himself providing Kemi Izzet with competition for the defensive midfield role next season.

Deployed as a centre-half in his first game back, Beevers played 45 minutes against Watford reserves last Monday. He then followed that up by playing an hour against Norwich City’s second string in the centre of midfield on Tuesday night.

“There were two reasons why we put Lee in there,” explained Boothroyd. “I thought it would be more challenging for him to go into midfield rather than just sitting back and playing his way into the game, but secondly I wanted to see what he was like as a holding midfielder because at the moment I’ve only really got Kemi Izzet in that position.

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“I’m really pleased for him because he’s worked really, really hard. He’ll now start pre-season on a level footing with everyone else.”

Beevers, whose 6ft 3in frame should suit Boothroyd’s physical style of play, added: “All the players have had their chance to impress the manager this season and I haven’t been able to do that. Hopefully I will now get my chance.

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“I’ve played midfield in the past a few times, but whether the manager feels that’s something I can do in the future is up to him.”

Signed by Paul Lambert from League Two side Lincoln City last summer, Beevers enjoyed a dream start to life at the U’s when starting – and winning – all four of the Essex club’s opening games of the season.

However, disaster struck in the following match when, away at MK Dons, he badly dislocated his shoulder less than half an hour into the match. Open surgery followed, with doctors advising Beevers he would be out of action for at least five months.

After working hard at his recovery programme, Beevers returned to training ahead of schedule at the end of December, however, as soon as he was back, the injury curse struck once again.

Following just a handful of training sessions, Beevers began to feel a pain in his left knee. Another trip to a specialist led to the diagnosis of Iliotibial Band Syndrome (ITB), a repetitive strain problem which has just one cure. No surgery, no rehab, just rest.

“I’d had no symptoms or any knee trouble before,” said Beevers. “It just suddenly came on one day.

“I’d had 10 to 15 days back at training and was just feeling ready to get back into the reserves when suddenly I got what felt like a dead leg. I went to see a specialist, they diagnosed it as ITB and they just advised that it would settle down in time.”

Month after frustrating month went by without the injury improving, with Beevers unable to do anything but upper body work in the gym. The former Ipswich trainee admits he was beginning to increasingly despair at his lack of progress until, all of a sudden, it did indeed begin to settle.

Beevers returned to training three weeks ago and he now has two decent run-outs in the reserves under his belt.

He said: “Frustratingly, my season is just starting as everyone elses is finishing.

“I never thought I’d say this, but I couldn’t wait to get back running!”

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