Bates focused on battle

13 March 2009 10:17
Middlesbrough's Matthew Bates is delighted to just be involved in the club's battle to stay in the Premier League.

The 22-year-old Teessider has suffered an horrendous run of injuries in his short career, having suffered cruciate ligament injuries to both knees which has seen him have three major operations.

But Bates has now battled back to full fitness and has even forced his way into the first team.

The youngster, who can play in defence or midfield, admits he was at a real low point when he suffered his last injury at the beginning of last year.

"It was the lowest I have been," he told the Daily Star.

"It was a specialist centre for elite sportsmen, there were rugby players in wheelchairs and skiers who had broken their legs in five places.

"There was about 100 of us there and I was thinking, 'I am quite lucky I might get out of this'.

"In a way, I'd rather have these injuries now rather than when I am 30 because it's easier to recover when you're younger."

BattleBates admits he is determined to help Boro beat the drop.

"I have to walk down the street every day and go home and speak to the family," said Bates, whose current deal is set to expire in the summer.

"The foreign lads care as well but when they go home they don't get the 24 hours situation we're in.

"It's a lot harder for us to take but I'm not thinking about relegation, just about helping the team.

"It's not do-or-die, but we have two big games before the international break against Portsmouth and Stoke and it would be great if we could get two wins."

Source: SKY_Sports