Craig Gordon: Hearts and Scotland goalkeeper on the fight to save his career
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The 40-year-old goalkeeper is undergoing rehab following the injury he sustained against Dundee United at Tannadice on Christmas Eve, but faces another seven months on the sidelines and won’t be ready for the start of next season.
Gordon admits his injury is severe enough that it could end his career, but he is not prepared give up without a fight and insists he will “work every day until the muscles are too tired to move”.
Speaking to the Scottish Sun, the former Sunderland and Celtic goalkeeper said: “I suppose it’s a possibility I won’t come back from this, but that’s not even entered my head. That’s not the way I’m thinking right now. I’m just focused on what I need to do at each stage to get back on to the football pitch. I can control my rehab and I can control how hard I work, and I’ll give everything to all of that.
“I have done my research and looked at other players who have had similar injuries to mines and it ranges from seven months to nine or ten months. Some folk have never played again after it. That’s the severity and reality of this injury. So there are a lot of things I need to get right between now and then to make sure I get the chance to play again. But I will give it absolutely everything I’ve got.”
Gordon has played in the Premier League in England, won 13 major trophies and has accumulated 74 Scotland caps, and hopes there is more to come. “I want to retire on my own terms, and not to have that dictated to me by an injury,” he added. “I want that feeling back of leading the Hearts team out and playing again. If I can get back playing for Hearts then hopefully I can get back playing for Scotland too.
“When injuries happen you have to fight your way back and prove all over again that you deserve to be playing. That’s the challenge. I have had the majority of my career. I know there is only a certain amount of time I’ve potentially got left playing.
“Had this happened when I was 17 or 18, when I hadn’t done anything in the game, then it would be a completely different story. But I’m content with where I am. I’ve given my career absolutely everything until now. If things don’t work out from here on then I still have that to show for all my efforts, and I have a lot to be proud of. I could deal with it. But that’s not the way I’m thinking because I flip it around and say, ‘I’m not done yet’.
“The surgeon has been very positive. But the concern people have is with my age and the fact I’m 40 now, which I understand. That plays on people’s minds and I know there will be some who will question if I’m the same player as before if I do come back. But bring it on. Let’s see. Give me that opportunity and I’ll see what I can do.”