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Everton's Mikel Arteta refuses to be bitter despite injury nightmare
Published : 19 Feb 2010 18:31:19
It was almost a year ago when the Everton playmaker, enjoying some of the finest form of his career, fell awkwardly on to the St James' Park turf in a Premier League fixture against Newcastle, the cruciate knee ligament in his right knee torn, regrets taking the place of his dreams. Regret that his season was cut short, that he would miss Everton's first Wembley appearance for 14 years, that he would be absent as his team-mates lined up for the FA Cup final. Regret that much of his next year would be spent in hospital beds and hotel rooms, shuttling between England and Spain, enduring the pain of three operations and as many setbacks. Related ArticlesEverton v Manchester Utd: previewDonovan, not Beckham, is LA Galaxy's brightest starPienaar plays down Bayern linkMoyes rues away goal and Fellaini injuryMarouane Fellaini out for rest of seasonSport on televisionRegret that, days after his first operation, he would once more be absent from Vicente Del Bosque's Spain squad for the World Cup qualifier with Turkey. Arteta, of course, has never represented his country. Rumours in his homeland suggested, prior to that fall, his wait was about to come to an end. Yet there is no trace of recrimination or bitterness that his year has been lost, that after so many years desperately trying to attract the attentions of his national side, he is all but certain to be condemned to watch the World Cup as a spectator. There is only perspective of his plight, of his good fortune. "In hospital in Barcelona, I saw a lot of things that put it in perspective," he says. "I saw a lot of things with the kids which were unbelievable. I had just had a baby [Gabriel, born with eye difficulties in July], and when you see youngsters who are ill it is even worse. "It makes you realise football is very important, but you have to realise it is just part of your life, not all of it. It puts everything in perspective. I had three setbacks, and after the third, in November, I was at my lowest. "I had already come back from surgery and was training again, but the stitches in my knee [burst] and that had to be repaired. "I had gone through it all before, and I was back at the start. It was a really bad time. I never had doubts I would return, but I did not know when. I did know, though, that at the end of all I was going through that I would be fine, but a lot of the children might not be."