Republic of Ireland under-21 player Jayson Molumby said that his 15-month knee injury allowed him to reassess life, and led him to captaincy.
Speaking on The Football Show, Molumby says although he has been plagued by injuries, the recuperation allowed him to change a wayward attitude.
The 20-year-old said his move to Brighton at 16 was never a doubt, and that school life in Ireland was never something he enjoyed.
“It was a no-brainer going over [to Brighton], and I never looked back. I was eager to get out. I was doing my Junior Cert and after three or four weeks into that year, I was suspended because I was acting the bollocks.
“I knew I was leaving. I wanted to get out. School was never for me. It was a very GAA-orientated place. I didn’t even want to play GAA for the school.”
However, Molumby said that his first time in the UK involved him coming to terms with him being homesick. In 2017, this was compounded by Molumby suffering a severe knee injury that put him out for seven months.
He then, disastrously, suffered the same injury again, almost straight away.
“I went into a tackle at training and my knee semi-dislocated out of the socket. I had a chance to let the body heal itself, but it didn’t work.
"When I came back after seven months, in the third training session I did my knee again, and had to get an operation that put me out for 15 months in total.”
Through his recovery, Molumby said he had a habit of partying that could have affected his career. However, he recalled a chat with clubmate Shane Duffy that put him back on track.
“I was never much of a drinker, but during my injury, I was probably going out a bit. My head was gone, and I was just enjoying myself.
“I went into the physio room with one of the boys one day. We were messing and I ended up bashing my knee off one of them. My knee ended up swelling.
“Shane had a word with me on how I was acting. It was what I needed. Probably a kick up the arse and then an arm around the shoulder. He was very good to me.
“I ended up settling down after that. I just wanted to get back and play football.”
On return to the game in 2019, Molumby spotted the eye of then Ireland under-21 manager Stephen Kenny which resulted in him receiving the captain’s armband.
“I played 45 minutes against Manchester City. After the game, Stephen Kenny came up to me and said he was delighted with me. When he picked the team three weeks later, he named me captain.
“[That was] after only coming back to football after 15 months. I thought I was lucky just getting on the team. How quickly football goes from being out to captaining your country. I never expected that.”