Number 13 proved so unlucky for poor Luca

He arrived with the promise of bringing some much-needed South American flair to Jim Magilton’s rather stale first team squad.

And the first impressions of Luciano Civelli two years ago were hugely promising. A physique suited to the Championship was married with a touch of flair that was largely missing among the Super Blues at that time.

The �1million reported fee seemed a steal for the 22-year-old who looked set to be a huge hero on the terraces of Portman Road. But just nine starts and 31 days later, Civelli saw his career in tatters after a suffering a serious knee injury against Burnley.

Town fans bemoaned cruel luck – Civelli was wearing 13 at the time – while the winger was faced with a long spell on the sidelines as well as a stranger in Suffolk.

As the severity of the injury hit home, many supporters wondered whether the Argentinian would ever kick a ball again. Magilton was replaced by Roy Keane but as pre-season came and went, Civelli was still unable to take his place.

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The club kept faith with the South American and Keane showed great man-management to allow the winger to return to his homeland to aid his recuperation. Keane, who had suffered a serious knee injury himself, was then poignantly pictured warming up with Civelli after he finally returned to training a full 16 months after the initial injury.

He fleetingly returned to the team, both in friendlies and the occasional Championship match, but something was clearly missing.

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Maybe it was a yard of pace, or maybe it was something inside.

This was unsurprising given the nature of his injury but both Keane and then Paul Jewell could not take a risk.

Ultimately, every Town fan will hope Civelli can rescue his career back in Argentina.

Town managers on Luca

- JIM MAGILTON: “We are delighted to have Luciano at the club. We feel he has all the attributes to be a success.”

- ROY KEANE: “It’s hard for him being away from his family as well. It’s about getting a balance between doing his recovery work and getting some time off mentally.”

- PAUL JEWELL: “I had never seen him play until I came here. To be brutally honest, I had never even heard of him. So it’s work in progress with Luca, but he’s got a good attitude.”

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