'I will always play through the pain,' insists McGoldrick
Striker keeps his injuries to himself unless serious, writes Cian Tracey
Published 11/11/2016 | 02:30
At a time when a manager has publicly questioned the commitment of his players and two others are butting heads about the fitness of one of their own, the spotlight has firmly been put on the 'steeliness' of the modern-day footballer.
Jose Mourinho has had his say, Martin O'Neill and Ronald Koeman have given their differing views but it was Roy Keane who summed it up best when he said: "I think if you're playing in the middle of the park you should be getting knocks every week. That's the name of the game.
"You're hitting people, they're hitting you. I'm always concerned when lads turn up and they haven't taken knocks. It's part of the game."
Luke Shaw and Chris Smalling would probably disagree with their manager's assessment, while James McCarthy has remained silent as his club and country bosses clash.
David McGoldrick has had his fair share of setbacks in recent times and the Ipswich Town striker would appear to sing off the same hymn sheet as Keane.
Having been left out of O'Neill's Euros squad, McGoldrick has endured a stop/start season as he battled with an ankle injury.
But having played two-and-a-half games for Ipswich this season, the 28-year-old is on his way back to full fitness, although he does stop short and asks: "When is anyone one hundred per cent fit these days?"
It's an interesting thought, one that Keane clearly agrees with and McGoldrick admits that he would keep minor injuries to himself in order to play more games.
"Yeah, yeah - all day. I've always done that," he insists.
"Unless it's something that will keep me out for a while, I'll play through it, definitely.
"See Mourinho talking about that the other day? There's always little injuries and niggles. But, yeah, I feel like I'm sharp, I feel like I'm moving well and I feel good inside myself."
In the second game of Ipswich's season, a Cup clash against Stevenage, McGoldrick injured his ankle and immediately knew he had done serious damage.
He had just missed out on the Euros and was desperate to prove a point so rather than tell the physio, he played through the pain barrier.
"I came on at half-time and it (ankle) was gone after 10 minutes," he explains.
"I went up for a header and landed on it and I was saying swear words, knowing I've done something here. I didn't want to come off because I knew that I was going to be out for a bit with the injury.
"I ruptured the ligaments but I was striking balls, kicking it, playing on. I came off afterwards and I took my shoe off and they said, 'That's three to four months. How did you play on like that?'
"I said I knew I was going to be out for a while so I wanted to stay on the pitch and play a bit of football for a little bit. And they said I was stupid.
"That was big Mick saying that, big Mick McCarthy. He used a couple of swear words too - I think he wanted to pin me up against the wall!"
But did McGoldrick regret staying on? "The specialist said the damage was already done. 'You soldiered through - I don't know how you did it but it didn't make any difference.'
"You don't want that 'sicknote' tag, getting subbed on at half-time and then 10 minutes later going off again. You don't want people thinking, 'Aw, here he goes again'.
"What you're thinking is, 'I can get through this and I might be out for a week or two with a little twisted ankle or something'.
"But then I was walking out of the dressing room on crutches, I could feel people looking going, 'What's going on here'. That wasn't a good sign. But I learned from it. I will keep going. I will never stop."
McGoldrick's team-mate McCarthy may be caught in the middle of a spat between O'Neill and Koeman but he has no such issues under Mick McCarthy.
"He was delighted for me when I got the call-up, wished me all the best," McGoldrick says.
"He just said, 'Don't come back injured, that's all'. But yeah, he loves me playing for Ireland, he told me about his times doing it."
McCarthy may have wanted to pin McGoldrick against a wall but the kind of commitment that he shows is what every manager wants from his players.