Young striker discusses injury comebackCraig Tanner was thrilled to play 90 minutes for the first time in over three months last Friday, and cites club captain Jem Karacan as his inspiration for his injury recovery.
Tanner had been sidelined with a knee problem for over three months but played 90 minutes as the U21s, who face Bolton in the Premier League Cup tonight, secured their fourth win in five games with a 3-1 success over Wolves at the Madejski Stadium.
And the 20-year-old says that Karacan, currently recovering from a long-term knee injury himself, played a big role in his rehabilitation process.
“Jem is a great lad to talk to,” said Tanner. “He’ll pull you aside even if he’s looking down and he always puts others first.
“He’s an inspiration to look at for anyone that’s had a long term injury. He’s had a lot of setbacks, but the way he’s dealt with them is incredible. He is an inspiration to me and the rest of the lads.
“At first, my problem only started out as a little six weeker, which seemed a long time, but injuries like what Jem has got made me feel like I got away quite fortunately.
“But it kept niggling away and things weren’t settling down. I had to go and see a specialist and at one point I was looking at missing almost all of the season. Luckily enough, I saw him again we tried something else and it has worked out for me.”
After a goalless first half on Friday night, two goals from Dom Samuel and one from Tariqe Fosu secured the U21s all three points.
Attention now turns to the Premier League Cup last-16 tie with Bolton this evening and Tanner, who was on the bench for the first team on Saturday, has his eyes firmly set on defending their title.
He said: “It was a great win on the back of the 5-1 win over Villa. We’re on a good run of form and we’ve got Bolton to come in the cup.
“We’re building up some steam ahead of our cup run and we want to win it again. We want to be back-to-back champions. We have got a great set of lads and, if we keep going the way we are going, then I think we can do it.
“It was good to be back out there and to be rebuilding my fitness. Hopefully I can get myself back around the first team soon.
“I like to get myself involved, create chances for the lads and sometimes tuck them way myself. I didn’t think too much about my performance on Friday, I just wanted to get through the 90 minutes.
“It felt really good – the best my knee’s been for a long time. It’s been a long 14 weeks but I’ve done my rehab, had a few setbacks but luckily enough it all feels good now.”