Read an excerpt from Donervon Daniels' match day programme interview ahead of Blackpool.
- Latics defender Donervon Daniels delighted to return to the club.
- Daniels determined to contribute to Latics' promotion push.
- "I'm a vegan now." - Daniels tells of change in lifestyle and improved fitness.
After a long battle with a recurring knee injury and time spent re-building his fitness and form at Rochdale, defender Donervon Daniels is back at the club and determined as ever to contribute to Latics' promotion push.
Here's an excerpt from his big interview in the official match day programme for Latics versus Blackpool.
HOW GOOD IS IT TO BE BACK AT THE CLUB?
“It’s really good to be back. It caught me a bit by surprise because it was initially supposed to be a season-long loan.
“I was enjoying the game time at Rochdale and getting back to my old self when I was playing for Wigan Athletic and winning games.
“It felt good, but I’m excited to be back now that I’m fit and ready to contribute properly to the team.”
IT’S BEEN A TOUGH PERIOD OF YOUR CAREER WITH THE DISAPPOINTMENT OF INJURY AFTER THE LEAGUE TITLE WIN IN 2016, JUST HOW HARD HAS IT BEEN SINCE THEN?
“It was very tough, it was very challenging mentally. I was on a high winning promotion with a great bunch of lads and hoping to emulate success going into the next season.
“From then on things started to go down hill for me. I picked up a knee injury in pre-season that I wasn’t expecting. Early in pre-season I realised I had a little defect in my knee, but the specialist said if I managed it then training sessions would be okay.
“In the pre-season game against Oldham I realised that no amount of painkillers, no amount of strapping could fix it. I couldn’t run, I couldn’t put any pressure on it and every time I did it made me look like I was a bad player.
“We had to make the decision to get the operation. It was only supposed to be three months, but it turned into what felt like a lifetime of rehabilitation
“It put a whole dampener on my mood and everything in my life.
“For any footballer, life is dictated by how things are going in their career and I’m no different. It was very frustrating, but I know I’m over the peak of the mountain now and I’m fully focused.
“I’m really happy to be over it because I feel that I am as strong, as fast and as mentally prepared as I’ve ever been. I think that’s been evident in my performances for Rochdale, that’s what the gaffer said to me when he called me back.”
HAS YOUR PREPARATION CHANGED AT ALL KNOWING WHAT’S AHEAD OF YOU?
“My life has completely changed. With my knee injury I now have to do extra work in the mornings for my balance, ankle stability and core work, it’s like a training session before a training session.
“My diet has changed, I’m a vegan and everything is plant-based. I fill myself with the right things to help me recover faster.
“I keep myself educated by reading and being in the right environments, I’m always looking for new ways to keep myself sharp. I’m a big believer in not swamping my brain with too much television.
“It’s a challenge, but I want to be physically and mentally ready when the time comes, and my lifestyle is something I believe will help me.
“I’m in a great place and I’ve got really good influences around me.”