Hatters keeper yet to get to grips with severity of his injury as he gears up for lengthy period out following knee operation

Luton stopper on suffering a first major set-back in his career

By Mike Simmonds
Thursday, 28th April 2022, 6:45 am
Town keeper James Shea
Town keeper James Shea

Town keeper James Shea conceded he is yet to fully get his head around the fact he will be spending the foreseeable future on the sidelines after suffering the first serious injury of his career recently

The 30-year-old damaged his cruciate ligaments when collecting a cross and colliding with team-mate Tom Lockyer against Cardiff on Easter Monday, the club confirming on Saturday his campaign is over and that he faces surgery before undergoing a ‘lengthy period of rehabilitation.’

Shea's future with the Hatters isn’t in doubt though, the former Arsenal youngster penning a new contract just days after the blow, but he now preparing with a degree of apprehension for the unknown, undergoing his first operation and then having a sustained spell away from playing afterwards.

Speaking to the club’s official website, he said: “It’s going to be a long road, it's not something that's going to take a few months.

"I don't think I've got my head round it fully yet, I've never had an injury like this so I don't know.

"I've never had an operation before so I'm a little bit nervous about that if I'm honest, but it's part and parcel.

"I've got to get it done, but the main thing is I will be back, it's just going to take a bit of time.

"It has been over a week now so it has settled down.

"It was a tough couple of days after trying to accept what's happened but it’s part and parcel of football.

"It's one of those things, many people have had it before, I'm just another one, it’s going to be a long road to recovery but the main thing is I will be back.

"This is a long one, but I've got everyone behind me, which is massive.”

When the incident happened, Shea looked to be in some considerable pain, with Wales international Lockyer himself clearly upset with what he had seen as well, but after receiving treatment on the pitch, the keeper managed to regain his feet once more.

He even went on to clear the ball upfield, before dropping to his haunches again and was eventually substituted, as he admitted he knew then it was a bad injury.

The keeper continued: “When it happened, you heard all these noises – clicking, popping and all sorts.

"Locks (Tom Lockyer) even said it to me he heard it, but at first I thought I'd done my knee, my shin and my ankle, I thought I'd done the lot to be honest.

"My ankle came back to me, my shin came back to me, and my knee just felt funny.

"It was just before half-time so I was thinking just get to half-time and see how it is.

"I’ve got up, the ref gave me the ball and I thought it was a goal kick, so I'll just get one of the boys to take it.

"Then I then realised the ball was in my hands so I’ve got to kick it.

"I’m thinking to myself ‘this isn’t going to go well here’.

"As I’ve kicked it, I just felt my knee go a bit funny and I thought ‘no, I can’t carry on’.

"I sat back down and then unfortunately had to come off which I was gutted about.

“I wanted to try and tell myself it was nothing bad, nothing serious but deep down, I knew I’d done something.

"You heard the clicking and the pop, and it was really, really painful at the time.

"I just wanted to get to half-time and just see how it is but as soon as I kicked it, I knew I'm in trouble here.”

Shea was back at the Brache this week to see his team-mates, as he is playing the waiting game to have his operation, adding: “I've got to get the swelling down, I’ve got to get my leg straight.

"Si (Simon Parsell, head of medical) was telling me, because of my MCL (medial ligament), I need that to repair first to make sure that's all fine.

"Then I can get the op done and then get going from there.”