Tottenham’s Eric Dier has spoken of his frustration at how his career has stagnated because of a bout of appendicitis last year.
Dier was required to have emergency surgery to remove his appendix last December and – although he was only out for six weeks – his recovery was blighted by illness.
The England international has not been a regular in Mauricio Pochettino’s side since and suffered more annoyance when he was required to undergo minor surgery on an injury during pre-season.
He made only this third start of the campaign in Wednesday night’s 4-0 Champions League win over Red Star Belgrade and is looking forward to getting back to his best.
He said: “It was quite serious. At the time, there were a few players at the club with a stomach ache so we just presumed that it was that – which is no fault of the medical staff, at all. They treated me fantastically.
“I was at home and I had to be rushed to hospital and thankfully I had the procedure straight away.
“I was very fortunate like that and it was just very difficult afterwards. I kept on getting ill afterwards.
“My immune system just really struggled with the medicine after the appendix and I kept on getting ill.
“People said I was injured but I was never injured, I just kept on falling ill because of it afterwards which was very frustrating.
“It wasn’t easy. It wasn’t a normal thing for anyone. It was a very strange experience but something that hopefully I will be better for.
“It’s gone. I don’t really think about it too much any more. I’m just looking forward.”
Dier played well in a central defensive role in Belgrade, helping Spurs to keep a rare clean sheet.
The 4-0 win puts them on the brink of qualification to the knockout rounds and they inflicted Red Star’s heaviest home defeat in European football exactly one year to the day that Liverpool were beaten in the same stadium.
“We approached the game in the right way, we know it’s a tough place to come and play, the manager made that very clear,” Dier added.
“He gave us examples of how big teams have struggled in previous Champions League campaigns, here. So our mentality going into the game is what made it what it was.
“They beat Liverpool. PSG came here and didn’t win. They hadn’t conceded more than one goal here in about 70 games or something like that.
“We knew it would be tough. We knew the atmosphere would be what it was. It was a fantastic atmosphere and really enjoyable to play in.”