Weaver keen to grab Clarets chance

29 January 2010 01:48
Weaver, a former England Under-21 international keeper who at one time was viewed as the long-term successor to David Seaman in the senior national side, has signed for Burnley after his contract with Dundee United came to an end.

It represents a return to a league he last played in three years ago when Stuart Pearce was manager of Manchester City, and when he had only just recovered from a serious knee injury that was cured by having the cartilage of a dead man implanted.

The memories of that injury and the pain of the long recovery process have made Weaver, still only 30, all the more determined to seize his latest chance - and he may be called into action as soon as on Saturday when Chelsea visit Turf Moor.

Weaver said: "It's up to me to take it and prove I can still do it at the highest level.

"Everyone wants to play as high they possibly can and it's up to me to get into the team and take my chance.

"I'm more experienced now, I class myself as a decent age for a keeper and hopefully I've many years left in the game still.

"I've also learned from my injuries in the past not to take anything for granted."

Weaver's knee joint had proved so problematic that after four operations, specialists were warning that his career might be over at the age of 25.

One last chance presented itself in the USA, where a procedure often carried out on basketball players was performed involving donor cartilage from a man of similar height and age.

"It was a bleak situation at one point," recalled Weaver. "I had had four operations and in the last one I had a cartilage from a dead man implanted into my knee.

"It took a year after that to get it right and ever since then it has been brilliant.

"I think I'm the only footballer in Britain to have had it done - it's more common in America with basketball players.

"The idea of having something implanted from a corpse takes a while to get your head around but it worked brilliantly for me.

"I managed to get back and played again at City before going to Charlton and Dundee United.

"I'm still careful with it but now it's in the past."

Burnley boss Brian Laws has also backed Weaver to stake a claim.

Laws said: "Goalkeepers are at their peak between the age of 30 and 36. I spoke to people in Scotland including the Scotland manager and they couldn't speak anything but good about how he performed.

"This is a real opportunity for him to get back where he belongs."

Weaver and fellow new signing Leon Cort, the central defender who has joined from Stoke, will both be in Burnley's squad to face Chelsea. Andre Bikey is also included after returning from the African Nations Cup.

Graham Alexander is struggling with a calf strain but Chris McCann is hopeful of shaking off a knock on his knee.

Source: Team_Talk