Jarrad Branthwaite, the Everton defender, has opened up about his past struggles with growing pains and how they almost led him to quit football during his teenage years, writes the Everton.News.
In an interview with The Sun, the center-back shared his battle with a condition called Osgood-Schlatter, which resulted in pain and swelling below the knee joint.
Branthwaite experienced such severe symptoms that he was unable to run or train for over a year, causing him to contemplate giving up on football altogether at the tender age of 16.
Fortunately, the young player was presented with a lifeline when his hometown club, Carlisle, granted him a six-week opportunity to earn a professional contract.
“There were two years where I literally did nothing. I couldn’t train or anything,” Branthwaite said.
“My knees were gone because I had grown so quick. I couldn’t run, it was so painful.
“Carlisle said they didn’t think I had it in me to get a professional contract, so they gave me six weeks to prove to them I was good enough.
“I went through a stage where I was like, ‘Do I really want to do it?’ I would probably say I was thinking of giving up.
“But dad said, ‘Come on, you have to do it’. He gave me a training programme to do at home in the gym to work on my fitness and strength to give myself the best chance to get that contract.
“After the six weeks, I got a contract. So I think he’s influenced me to get to where I am today. It’ll be a proud moment for him if I play for England here at a major tournament.”