‘You take playing for granted’ – Sam Winnall opens up about his injury recovery and being named in Sheffield Wednesday’s starting team
The road back from injury is always a long one, but for Sam Winnall it has had more twists and turns than most.
But that is all behind the Sheffield Wednesday striker now after he was handed a first start for the club since August 2017 in the weekend’s match 4-2 win over Blackburn Rovers.
Winnall, who signed from south Yorkshire rivals Barnsley two years ago, has recently made a comeback for the Owls under Steve Bruce and is hungry for more after a lengthy spell away from first team action.
Reflecting on the moment he learned he was starting at Hillsborough, he said: “I was over the moon. I only found out on the day when the gaffer told us and I was buzzing because it has been a long, tough journey for me with injuries.
“It’s nice that all the hard work that I have put in has kind of paid off and got me that start. For us to win makes it extra special as well.
“You take playing for granted and when you are not playing, whether it is through injury or through not being selected it is tough.
“It’s tough for any footballer and for me it was a long time so to get back on that pitch and play in front of the Wednesday fans again was really special for me and was something I’ll make sure I won’t take for granted again.”
The 28-year-old spent a portion of last season on loan with Championship rivals Derby County where he scored six goals before his season was cut short by a serious knee injury.
Since then a hamstring injury and a broken nose – which has forced Winnall to play in a protective face mask – have also caused setbacks in his return.
“It’s a great time for me to get back into the team really with everyone firing on all cylinders,” he said. “We are on such a good run of form and there is such good confidence in the squad that it is great for me to be back involved and getting that sharpness back.
“I know that the more minutes I play the better I will get and I know that the goals will flow as soon as I am back up to my best, so I am just going to keep working hard and putting everything I can into improving and getting back to my full potential.
“That’s why you have a squad, you need to be ready to be called upon when we have injuries. Hopefully with everybody getting back fit there is going to be healthy competition and everybody can play their part in doing something special this year.
“I’m thankful for that because all I wanted to do was work hard, get back in the team and score goals for this team and thankfully I have been handed a start and the more minutes I play and the sharper I get the more starts I will get in the future.”