Welsh international centre-half James Chester is a well-liked figure at Aston Villa but given our mixed start to the 2018/19 Championship campaign, he certainly took some flack from supporters for below par performances.
Debates raged on about whether it was the disappearance of John Terry, whether it was pace based with Mile Jedinak being shoehorned in – whatever your personal favourite was, he was clearly not at his best and then we got news that he’d been carrying an injury which made a lot more sense.
Once we strengthened in the January transfer window he was rightly given a rest and we last saw him in the 2-1 victory over Ipswich Town at the end of the month.
With little coming out about his injury many looked at the length of time he was spending on the sidelines as giving an indication as to how far through the pain barrier he had played trying to do his bit for the team after we left ourselves woefully short in defence during August’s window.
With everyone celebrating our return to the Premier League, Chester opened up recently about his injury problems this year and the Birmingham Mail have him admitting he’s now done himself lasting harm that he would now have to manage his knee problem for the remainder of his playing career.
“I’ve damaged my body indefinitely. It’s something I’m going to have to manage for the rest of my career. Hopefully I can look after it and play for as long as possible. It is what it is, I’m a professional. I’ve been training for the last six weeks. It’s a case of managing what I do. I’m feeling better and better as the weeks go on. The break over the summer will hopefully do me well and I can come back and give it a go next season.”
“It’s certainly tough not playing – any player will tell you that. If you’re not involved you quickly feel like you’re not a part of things. You’re having your own battles trying to get fit. Looking at the last three years personally I’ve been a really big part of what this club has achieved and I’m really proud of that. It’s been tough and really painful at times but it’s just how I’ve been brought up at home. I felt it was my duty as such to continue, being the only centre half.”
He should never have been put in that position in the first place but his efforts should certainly be appreciated by all in the fanbase, and that qualifies him as a modern legend for me.