Kick-Off: Dagenham & Redbridge defender Luke Pennell desperate to move on from injury hell with successful National League term
PUBLISHED: 15:00 10 August 2017
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After an ACL injury restricted him to just one appearance last season, young Daggers defender is back and more determined than ever
Luke Pennell might be looking forward to the new season more than most Dagenham & Redbridge players as he looks to put the injury hell of his last campaign behind him.
The 21-year-old made just one appearance last term, which came in the final regular league game of the campaign, after suffering an ACL injury last summer.
And Pennell is now keen to move on from the most frustrating year of his blossoming career so far.
“I’d never missed a game through injury before then, so to miss a whole season was mentally very tough,” said Pennell.
“I was sat there watching the boys, knowing I couldn’t contribute to anything at all.
“Mentally, I was prepared for what I was going to face. I’d spoken to people and know in myself that I could get through it. I’m strong mentally and knew what I had to do.
“I was working at getting back as quickly as I possibly could, which I did. The gaffer didn’t want to risk it, he said if I came back too quickly there was a chance I could do it again.”
Despite the injury frustrations of last season, Pennell was handed a contract extension during the summer.
And the young defender was pleased that boss John Still had seen enough in him on the training ground to offer Pennell a new deal, despite his limited game time last term.
“I was happy John offered me a contract extension and it shows he has faith in my ability and has given me a chance,” he added.
Pennell looks set to be Daggers’ first-choice left-back this term, having played there regularly in pre-season and been handed the number three shirt.
And though he started out in the middle of defence, the youngster says he is happy with his full-back role.
He said: “I played left-back at Dunstable Town, where the gaffer signed me from.
“It was a bit different as all through my youth career I’d played at centre-back.
“It’s a bit different on the ball: at centre-back in this league, it’s just head it and clear, but at left-back you can show a bit more.”
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