Huws: Things Start to Fall Into Place and It's Enjoyable, Which It Wasn't For a While
Monday, 18th Nov 2019 15:52
Fit-again Emyr Huws has reflected on the injury woes that saw him sidelined for 20 months until returning to action as a late substitute in the 1-0 win at Burton on the opening day of the season.
Huws, 26, has been used sparingly since then but recently played two full games in the space of just three days for the first time since Easter 2017 to convince him that his problems are a thing of the past and he can face the future with confidence.
He put in a 90-minute shift in the 1-1 FA Cup draw against Lincoln at Portman Road and followed it up with the same again as Town suffered a freak Leasing.com trophy defeat at Colchester, the only goal coming late on from an intended tackle more than 40 yards out.
“That was big for me, playing two games in a short space of time,” said Huws, who is now set to feature in Wednesday’s first round replay at Sincil Bank.
“Looking at it with some perspective, and having a few days to reflect on it, yes, it was big considering where I have come from.
“So I’m happy with that and I just want to build on that and improve my performances to the point where I’m having a real impact on games. It’s good to have ticked that off.”
Asked if he thought he could have coped with the workload had the two games been League One fixtures – Town take on Blackpool on Saturday and leaders Wycombe the following Tuesday – the Welsh international midfielder added: “I think I have to take it as it comes. I’ve done it and I need to do it again to keep proving to myself, and whoever else, that I can do it. I know I can play well and that is the big thing.
“It was a big step and I’m glad I’ve done it. Now I want to build on it. When you’ve been out for as long as I’ve been I think it makes you appreciate things a little bit more when you do get back.
“I was out for such a long time so I was stuck in a rut, but being back and seeing progress in myself it’s nice to see the hard work paying off.
“Football is tough and there are ups and downs, but my down was a long while so to now have some consistency in my physicality and being able to enjoy football again is great.
"I love coming in to training – playing and being with the boys is what I’ve always done and loved to do – so I’m really enjoying myself at the minute.
“I’m not worried about anything. I’ll still go into a tackle full-blooded, which is something I probably need to chill out with at times, even in training.
“But I’ve always tried to train as I play and I’m fully confident that I don’t feel a thing any more, which is a great feeling.
“I just need to get stronger and fitter, which I will do with games. I haven’t played for so long and I need to build up a little rhythm and push on.
“Match sharpness only comes from playing games. There are certain parts of my game that I feel are quite rusty to be honest.
“I feel I have still made progress but I have always had high expectations of myself, so I have had to manage them a bit.
“I need to keep some perspective, keep building and I’ll get there. With my work ethic and my determination – it’s what I do every day to achieve something – I’ll get to a place where I’ll play the best football I have ever done. It’s just a case of taking each little step at a time at the minute.”
Huws first joined Town on loan from Cardiff in the second half of the 2016/17 campaign, scoring three goals in 13 league appearances, and the deal was made permanent that summer.
However, he missed the start of the following season and after making his first appearance in November he only played five times before being injured at Middlesbrough on December 9th.
He was absent from then, missing the entire 2018/19 season, until the first game of the current campaign, during which he has only started two of the club’s 15 League One fixtures. “You don’t really realise when you’re in the pickle how much time you’ve wasted because it all just rolls into one big nightmare,” he admitted.
“But I feel like I’m slowly getting there now and even though I’ve missed a lot of time on the pitch you don’t lose your instincts and once you’re fit and strong you can do the things you used to do.
“Things start to fall into place more and it’s enjoyable, which it wasn’t for a while.
“One of the main things is how much I enjoy work. Well, it’s not work, but it did feel like work. Now I enjoy coming into training and putting the graft in. It’s enjoyable graft and it’s great to be with the boys again.”
Town boss Paul Lambert admitted last month that he was concerned Huws might not be able to fight his way back as well as he has done in recent weeks.
“I did always think I would get back,” said Huws, “but there were little blips when I’d be thinking ‘What do we do now?’
“They were strange times and I’m lucky, thankful and proud of getting through it all.
“Loads of people have helped me – too many to name – and there was always positivity in a realistic way.
“There were times when it was looking bleak but you have to be realistic and positive at the same time, which is quite tough.
“I had support from my family and I was never going to give up. It’s been a journey and everyone at the club, as well, has been there for me.
“I’m still on that journey but it’s great just to be involved and playing for Ipswich Town again. I love the club and everything that comes with it, like the fans, so it’s nice to be in a position where I can try to give back now.”
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