Hill comeback cut short by injury fears

Dan Hill in the colours of Sidley United at the start of the season.
Dan Hill in the colours of Sidley United at the start of the season.

Popular footballer Dan Hill admits he is unlikely to perform as an outfield player again due to injury.

The tenacious attacking midfielder attempted a comeback with Sidley United at the start of this season after 21 months out as a result of a broken leg.

But after just a couple of competitive appearances, Hill has decided to step away from the game, saying his leg remains uncomfortable and his head isn't in the right place as a consequence.

He said: "I started playing the first two games and it just wasn't the same. It's a constant ache and all I think about all game is my leg.

"When you're playing you shouldn't be thinking about anything else apart from playing. My head's not right and I think it's the best step for me now."

Although Hill doesn't think he will feature as an outfield player again, he hasn't ruled out playing in goal in the future and is known for being pretty adept with the gloves.

"Maybe next season if I get some goalkeeper coaching," he continued. "I think me playing on the pitch now is a bit of a write-off, but I love the sport and it's not something I want to give up lightly."

A fun-loving and thoroughly likeable character off the pitch but a keen competitor on it, Hill has been plagued by injuries throughout his career.

The most serious of them was the broken leg he suffered playing for Little Common against Eastbourne Borough in December 2014.

Hill's leg took 14 weeks to start healing, as opposed to the usual eight, and the self-employed carpenter had seven months off work.

After suffering the injury, Hill said he wouldn't play competitively again. But as time went by, the more football he watched, the more he wanted to return to action.

The 29-year-old started training with Sidley in the summer, and said he felt fine in training and in the first pre-season game, but his problems have occurred since the start of the league campaign.

"I'm gutted, but in a way I'm not because I've come back," Hill added. "I didn't want to be stopped by a tackle; now it's through my choice. I've made the effort, but it's just not right. I wasn't going in for tackles and that's never been me."

Hill has played for Bexhill United as well as Common and Macron East Sussex Football League Premier Division club Sidley, who he also represented during their Sussex County League days.

A Sidley United spokesman said: "We fully understand and support Dan's decision. We thank Dan for his service to the club over the years and wish him all the best moving forward. He will always be part of the 'Sidley family' and we hope to still see him at the club's games in the future."

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