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2017年新版跑狗01期图

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TOO MUCH TOO YOUNGNICKY WEAVERS David Bellamy-esque beard is not the only concession to the Manchester City goalkeepers new-found maturity. Weaver has emerged from a career-threatening knee injury and a period of potential selfdestruction as a young player with too much money fuelled by too much self-importance, to stand on the brink of an England call-up. Four years on and five operations later, Weaver is now firmly established as Citys first-choice keeper and goes into tomorrows FA Cup tie against boyhood club Sheffield Wednesday with his reputation higher t

han ever. But he has had to fight back from the brink to salvage his career and his decision to adopt a more disciplined off-field approach should act as a cautionary tale to the generation of flash young players who believe their own hype. I broke into the team quite young here, played week in, week out, and when that happens and you do well, a lot of things come to you quite quickly, said Weaver. I was going out too much and enjoying myself. I was a young lad, single and living on my own. You get invites to this place and that place and you get can get in anywhere. You think its great when youre 19, 20, 21 and I suppose any young lad is the same. But after a bit you realise you cant do it for ever. And I certainly feel that the injury made me grow up a bit quick - it jolted me. I got carried away for a while but when you get an injury like I did it soon brings you crashing back down to earth. It makes you realise how lucky you are. I feel that the injury, alth

ough it robbed me of four years of my career, added to me a lot as a person. Sometimes it takes something like that to make you realise how fortunate you are. I dont take things for granted anymore. I appreciate everything Ive got and the run I am having in the team at the moment. Although Weaver has played down suggestions of him earning

an England callup the 2

7-year-olds stats this season are better than current No.1 Paul Robinson and his t

wo understudies. Weaver has conceded fewer goals and kept more clean sheets than Tottenhams Robinson, Wigans Chris Kirkland and Watfords Ben Foster but as yet has been unable to earn a callup to Steve McClarens squad. That will surely change if Weaver can maintain his current impressive form, but he insists he is just happy to be playing at all. With the condition my knee was in, it was touch and go whether Id play again - it was quite scary, said Weaver. A pioneering operation in America which involved the transfer of cartilage from a dead man into Weavers knee has salvaged his career. I had five operations in all, said Weaver. Now it

just seems like a four-year blur: going into surgery, coming out, into reh

ab, then breaking down. I went through that five times. After what Ive been through, every game is a bonus.

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