Sheffield Wednesday: How injury frustration has made Barry Bannan mentally stronger
There is a spring back in Barry Bannan's step.
And it is not hard to fathom why the midfielder is in such good spirits.
Bannan feels fit and healthy, having come through Wednesday’s pre-season programme unscathed. His injury troubles are behind him.
Now he is ready for whatever the new Championship season throws up.
Bannan told The Star: “I’m like a youngster again ‑ I can’t wait for the season to start. Coming back, I was probably off too long in the summer. I wanted to come back earlier because I missed it so much.
“But I’m fit and looking to stay injury-free and have a good season.”
Bannan described a frustrating spell on the sidelines between December and March last term as “depressing”. A groin injury restricted Bannan to a watching brief.
He eventually made his first-team return as a substitute in Wednesday’s superb victory at Leeds United.
But Bannan claims that experience has made him mentally stronger.
“It was a disappointing season,” he said. “Until last season, I had played nearly every game since coming to the club so it was a hard one to take.
“It was the first real injury I’ve had in football.
“I think I have come back for it better mentally. Stuff like that makes you realise how much you love the game when you can’t actually play and it has been taken away from you.”
The 28-year-old, whose contract runs out next summer, is acutely aware he can’t take his place in the side for granted.
“If you are not performing then you are not going to play,” said Bannan.
“We have got loads of good players so you’ve got to perform in training and do well when you get a chance.”