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Ashton woes worrying Zola
19 Sep 2009 - 11:08:28
West Ham United boss Gianfranco Zola has admitted that he is very concerned about striker Dean Ashton's ongoing struggles with a long-standing ankle problem.
The 26-year-old has not featured for a year, having suffered a number of setbacks after breaking his left ankle at the beginning of the 2006-07 season.
Zola said: "The problem he had was quite serious, it was more serious than anybody thought. It has been one year and obviously I am getting concerned about it.
"I can't say 'I'll give you three months', I can't force his progress along. But I do respect his willingness to come back and I am going to be supportive to him, not the one who is pushing him.
"We have not discussed that (retirement) at all and anyway he knows I trust him and whatever he does I have been trying to help and will keep trying to help him.
"He is one of the players that I have had a lot of hopes for. I have been waiting one year and I have not had him.
"According to everyone, including myself, he was one of the best players of the team. He made my job much more difficult.
"I am very sorry for the boy and I imagine what he is going through and that he is suffering a lot. All my thoughts are with him. I wish that he will find his way forward as soon as possible."