Man United goalkeeper who recently retired at 23 told he would “struggle to walk” by specialists if he continued playing.
Paul Woolston has opened on his decision to retire last month – and has revealed that he was told that he would “struggle to walk” if he continued playing by specialists.
Woolston was snapped up United back in 2018 after impressing at Newcastle and Sunderland in his youth. The shot-stopper played for England at the Under-17 World Cup and was a regular for United’s U23s in the Premier League 2, but he revealed just a couple of weeks ago that he was hanging up his gloves due to a hip injury.
The former Man United goalkeeper who’s 23-year-old underwent two operations and a lengthy rehabilitation period in a bid to resume his playing career, which had been halted after he felt “a minor twinge” in his hip.
But 14 months on from that initial issue, Woolston was faced with a major life decision after a conversation with specialists.
Woolston opened up on his retirement in an interview with BBC Sport.
He revealed that his decision was driven by concerns over how his quality of life could be affected if he attempted to play on through the pain barrier in a bid to make a return.
“I completely zoned out. Is he talking about me? Is this real? Surely this is wrong? It can’t be me. It can’t be right. The advice of the specialists was if I continued for another two years, my way of life would be totally different, that I would struggle to walk. It would be a full hip replacement at the age of 25. From there it is a long road. It was simple things like, if I am lucky to have kids in the future, I didn’t want to say: ‘Sorry, I can’t do it because I have ruined my hip.'” He said.
Woolston also lauded Manchester United for the support he’s been shown during his injury nightmare.
He added: “The club have been brilliant in what they have been able to offer and the guidance they have given. Having that support has made the last 12 to 14 months much easier. Going back a few years, I would probably have been just out of the door. But they have given me time to get fit for life and help me on the next part of the journey.”
“It took a while to deal with it. At the start there was lots of ‘why me’s?,’ ‘what have I done wrong?’. I wasn’t wishing it on anyone else but it was: ‘Why couldn’t it happen to someone else?’ I was right at the start of my career. It hasn’t really started. It was like: ‘Why? Why has it stopped my dreams coming true?’
“I had a few days where I wasn’t thinking straight and I had scenarios running through my head. Once I fully understood what I needed to do, it was easier to know why instead of blaming myself and others. It is something that happened. It is life. It is tough. It is difficult. But there is not much you can do.”