"See you in 2022" - Jack O'Connell's message to Sheffield United fans after toughest year of his life

Jack O’Connell admits 2021 has been the “toughest year of his life” as he battles back from a knee injury.

Saturday, 1st January 2022, 12:43 pm

But the Sheffield United defender says he is working hard every day to get back to playing for the Blades – adding: “Don’t doubt me … see you in 2022.”

O’Connell has played twice for the Blades since the summer of 2020, after damaging a knee and being forced under the knife. It’s understood that he underwent a second operation more recently, and spent time away from United’s Shirecliffe training complex to continue his rehabilitation in a different environment.

The former Brentford defender was a huge part in United’s rise from League One to the Premier League, and was in form that would have surely put him in contention for an England call-up when injury struck.

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And in a New Year’s Eve Instagram post, which included images of him in a United shirt and more recently on crutches, O’Connell wrote: “Been the toughest year of my life … physically, mentally and emotionally.

“But I’m continuing to work hard every day to get back doing what I love. Don’t doubt me, see you in 2022­­.”

O’Connell recently returned to United’s training base recently and boss Paul Heckingbottom says his teammates and staff were delighted to see the defender.

Jack O'Connell hasn't featured for Sheffield United since the beginning of last season: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

“Everyone was delighted to see him and it’s good to have him back around the place,” Heckingbottom said.

“He was in good spirits. He's happy with how it is and where he is with it. Our message and my conversations with Jack haven’t changed. There's absolutely no pressure on him to be back for any sort of date.”