Smith thought his career could have been over

IPSWICH TOWN: Tommy Smith today admitted that he thought his career might have been over when he broke his ankle.

During the early part of the 2008/09 season he was confined to bed for a month after suffering a serious injury in a training session at the Blues training ground in Playford Road.

What a difference two years makes with the 20-year-old now an established Town player and having experienced the World Cup finals with New Zealand in South Africa this summer.

He reveals that he is playing the best football of his growing career, and taking a break from preparing for this afternoon’s Championship game against Bristol City at Portman Road (kick-off 3pm), Smith said:

“In the early days of the injury when I knew I was going to be out for a long while and had to spend a month in bed keeping pressure off the leg, doubts did creep in.

“I think they would have done with everybody in my position.

“But after I was over that you I than had to focus on getting fit, and I was fortunate to have the professional backing of the Ipswich medical staff.

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“Physios Matt Byard and Mark Endacott helped to keep my spirits up and I have come out the other end mentally stronger.

“And physically I am now 100 per cent fit, and touch wood it is all behind me now.”

Smith was effectively out for a season before getting back into the first team last term with 14 first team games last term while eight while on loan with League One Brentford.

Although born in Macclesfield, Smith was brought up in New Zealand and he gave an excellent account of himself playing all three matches in the All-Whites group games in South Africa.

He is set to make his ‘home’ international debut in October when the Kiwis entertain Honduras and Paraguay.

“I’ll be travelling to the other side of the world during a two-week international break,” explained Smith, who has been given next week off by his manager Roy Keane after having his close-season shortened by his World Cup exploits.

“The feedback from coach Rickie Herbert is positive and he said that he was pleased with my contribution and that he’s looking forward to seeing me again in October.

“With my brother and sister still living in New Zealand it will be great to catch up with them as well.

“Playing against some of the best players in the world has given my confidence a boost and with Ipswich playing well it has been easy for me.

“I would say that I’m playing the best football of my career.”

And looking ahead after such a promising start to the season, Smith added: “With the competition we have in our squad everyone has to keep on top of their games in training and in games.

“This season for every game every player will be giving 100 per cent and hopefully we can maintain the confidence that comes from winning.”

And few players will appreciate the joy of success more than Smith after the pain that has helped to shape his career.

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