Stephen McGinn will use the experience of the “toughest days of his life” as motivation to succeed as a Sheffield United player.
McGinn, a former Scottish under-21 player, agreed a two-year deal with United after he was released by Watford.
His time at Vicarage Road was interrupted by a cruciate ligament injury he picked up at Doncaster Rovers in February 2011, which put him out of the game for 15 months.
He made his comeback during a loan spell at Shrewsbury Town last season; and the 24-year-old Glaswegian is looking forward to a fresh start at Bramall Lane.
“The injury happened during the best season of my career,” McGinn remembers.
“Watford had won eight on the bounce and we were third in the league, but then the injury came and it floored me.
“By the time I came back, Gianfranco Zola had taken over and the Italian revolution was underway. There were suddenly 50 players at training!”
McGinn damaged his cruciate ligaments after an innocuous-looking challenge against Rovers: “The first couple of weeks out were quite easy,” he added.
“I kept telling myself that I would beat this injury. But months and months into rehab, were probably some of the toughest days of my life.
“I found myself doing the same exercises for three months, the lads would have had a good win on Saturday and I’d be back in the gym.
“I use those feelings from the dark times as motivation to keep going now.
“I remember the good times I’ve had playing football, and I want that feeling back. That’s what keeps you going.”
McGinn has also backed fellow Scot Jamie Murphy to fulfil his potential this season at Bramall Lane, after an inconsistent start since joining from Motherwell.
“Murph is one of a few players I’ve played with before,” McGinn said.
“I’ve played with him, Ryan Flynn and Kev McDonald in the Scotland age groups, as well as with Mark Howard at St Mirren and Chris Porter last season at Shrewsbury.
“I’ve also played against Neill Collins and Michael Doyle that many times that I feel like I know them!
“But I know that Murph is a top player. when I first came to England, my manager Malky Mackay told me how hard the transition is from Scotland to England, and that he wasn’t expecting me to play until the next season.
“That took a lot of pressure off me, and I came back flying. I’m sure that’ll happen to Murph this season.
“Nothing prepares you for playing three times a week in England, but he’s lightning quick, and a full pre-season will only help him.
“I can’t wait to see how he does this season - it should be exciting to watch.”