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Gareth McAuley

Corry Evans' injuries won't hold him back

Gareth McAuley


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Corry Evans suffered devastating injuries last week

Corry Evans suffered devastating injuries last week

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Corry Evans suffered devastating injuries last week

The horrific injuries Corry Evans suffered last week would curtail a lesser man.

A double fracture, to his skull and eye socket, following a boot to the face during Blackburn's Championship match against Preston, will need a huge amount of physical and psychological care.

Corry is such a combative and physical player that part of his game is putting his head in where it hurts and making those crunching tackles.

How will he be affected after his recovery? Will he be cautious or hesitant in future games? Surely it is only human nature to feel a little nervous after such an ordeal.

It's not the same as a calf strain or hamstring pull and a case of getting back on the bike once the injury heals. He'll need to be mentally strong.

However, having played with Corry for a decade at international level, I can assure you he is a tough character, a strong boy and a player who is extremely brave.

I honestly believe, once he has been given the all-clear by his doctors to resume training, that Corry will not be pulling out of any challenges and it wouldn't surprise me if he opts to wear a mask to help quicken his return.

But sadly in these type of injuries, there is no quick fix, the fractures must be given a chance to heal and he'll likely be banned from all forms of exercise due to the fact with head issues, they don't like you to get your heart rate up.

So it will be a slow process back.

My former team-mate Craig Dawson was struck in the eye by the ball and it damaged his retina. It wasn't as bad as Corry's injury but because he was unable to do any sort of rehab, which would increase his heart rate, he was out for 12 weeks.

You also had Iain Hulme's awful head injury which forced him out of the game or a long period.

Corry will soon have to undergo surgery and then it will be a case of rest and recuperation.

No time frame has been put on his comeback, but I think, with such a serious head injury, that we can rule him out of Northern Ireland's Euro 2020 play-off match against Bosnia and Herzegovina on March 26.

That is a huge blow to manager Michael O'Neill. Corry is such a key player in Michael's midfield, sometimes not going getting the praise for the hard and ugly work he has to undertake.

But Michael always plays him in the big games.

As a defender playing just behind Corry, you could be rest assured he would make the tackles, press the opposition and basically get after things - giving you ample protection.

He has been a crucial player to Northern Ireland over the years.

Corry's absence, though, could open up an opportunity for Michael's new signing at Stoke City, Jordan Thompson.

I've been aware for some time that Michael has been an admirer of Jordan, so I wasn't surprised he opted to make a move for the young Blackpool midfielder.

Jordan has plenty of potential, has the backing of O'Neill at club and international level now, and at 23, has been given a platform to help struggling Stoke move away from the relegation zone in the Championship.

If selected, Jordan can hopefully come in and fill the void left by Corry, but I think every Northern Ireland fan will be hoping that if we are able to successfully navigate the play-offs and reach the finals, then Corry recovers in time to take his place in the squad.

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