Davis exclusive

Friday 1 February 2002

From Ian McCulloch

Looking like something out of "The Phantom of the Opera", Sean Davis was seen walking round Fulham's training ground at Motspur Park this week with his broken nose encased in a large protective covering.

Obviously in a lot of discomfort, the England U21 midfielder gingerly put himself through a training session just two days after having his nose re-set. Speaking later, he updated Fulham Today on the current status of his injury.

"I took an elbow to the nose in the reserve game against Ipswich last week, and I had an operation on it this Tuesday. It's Thursday now and I've just done my first bit of training which was basically a fifteen-minute run and a stretch.

"I knew it was broken straight away, I felt it go and there was a lot of blood coming out. It was really unfortunate for me, because I was in the team before I was suspended and now it's another setback. It sums up my season really."

After having the nose scanned, the decision was taken that surgery was necessary, Sean explained that this was done to correct the problems he was having with his breathing.

"I had the operation done to actually straighten out the nose. I wasn't able to breath properly through my left nostril so they've straightened it out and that should have fixed it. Hopefully after another ten days or so I'll be back playing again. I'd like to be back for the Blackburn home game, that's my target.

"The cartilage was out of shape, so they straightened it out. Hopefully it was successful. I can't see at the moment because I've got this mask on my face! It was a full anaesthetic, and I was in hospital overnight, I came out about two in the afternoon the next day.

Throughout the interview Sean struggled to cope with the blood that was still seeping out of the nose; it was clearly very painful and uncomfortable.

"It's hard to breath at the moment," he said, "It's still blocked up and it keeps bleeding a lot, so it's not great at the moment. The things I do to get a day off!

"Anyway, I did the run and stretch today, and I've got a double session tomorrow which will be some more running and then some ball work on my own. It's important that there's no contact on the nose until it gets a bit more solid, so I'll be keeping this mask on for another week, and then I'll visit the doctor and see how it goes from there."

The mood around the training ground was very sombre following the poor performance up at Ipswich the previous night. Sean confirmed how badly everyone had taken the result.

"Everybody's obviously disappointed after Wednesday, everyone's down. The Gaffer's disappointed obviously because if we'd won that game we'd have been in a great position to push on up the League.

"It's a six pointer for us on Saturday against the Villa. Our aim at the beginning of the season was to stay in the Premiership, but now, after seeing most of the other teams, a finish in a European place is not beyond us. It's what we've got to aim for, and we want to do it for the fans.

"There could well be a backlash against Villa. We'll be in front of our own crowd and hopefully they can help to get us going. I think the team will take out their frustrations after the Ipswich game on the Villa, and we'll get those points.

"It was a set-back on Wednesday, everybody was disappointed with the game. The boys are down, but they will definitely bounce back."

First Abdes Ouaddou, then Louis Saha and now Sean Davis. If things carry on like this, the whole squad could have their features rearranged by the end of the season. And very welcome too, some might facetiously say. On a serious note though, it is perhaps indicative of the increasingly aggressive play that we are seeing in football today that there are so many injuries of this type around. Whether it's using the elbow or the boot, the face of an opponent seems to have become a legitimate target for a certain sort of player.

With the amount of play-acting going on in football today it is very difficult for referees to know when serous foul play has really occurred. But when you look at the extent of Sean's injuries and learn that the perpetrator escaped completely unpunished, then you realise that there is something badly wrong with the way that our games are being governed.