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My rehab with the biscuit tin

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Michael Gray | 11:12 UK time, Thursday, 5 November 2009

It's been an intensive week of rehab for me and I am hoping to be in contention for Saturday's match against QPR.

I'm really pleased with the progress I've made with this hamstring strain. I've been out running for four days now, with full training and matches very close on the horizon.

I've seen more than enough of the physio and I've had more massages than you could imagine! The pain I've had has been in quite a weird area - right in my backside - and a lot of my rehab has involved a piece of equipment that I call a biscuit tin.

It's like a round box that massages your backside, so I've been lying on my front for half an hour at a time with this thing on my backside, and you can imagine the stick I have taken from the lads who've been walking into the medical room!

It's not really a biscuit tin, obviously. It's some sort of device that sends short wave pulses through you and moves your ligaments around. That's what I'm told but it seems to me that it's one of those machines invented to give the physio a few moments to himself.

Team trainer Jimmy Trotter works on a player under radiant heat lamps for bruised muscles at the Charlton Athletic in 1939
Medical rooms have changed quite a bit in 70 years

So Paul Smith, our physio, has been putting this biscuit tin on me for half an hour so he can sneak off for a cup of tea and a rest - how stupid must I look?! I'm sure this thing is working but when you've been lying underneath it for 30 minutes you just can't wait to get away from it.

I've also been using an ultrasound machine - the physio squirts gel on you as if you're a pregnant woman having her unborn baby scanned. I'm sure this works in a different way, clearly I'm not a medical expert, but it certainly seems to be helping my injury get better.

It's been a tough week and I've also been in the gym with one of the other physios, Mark Palmer. We have a dips and pull-ups challenge where you have to max out as many tricep dips as you can. We do this three times and total them up at the end, so we've now got a list up in the gym for everyone to come and beat.

I beat Mark at the dips then he beat me at the pull-ups. I got 80 dips in three goes and he got 64. In the pull-ups I got 23 and Mark got 28 and I've had to listen to him bragging about it all week. I'll have to make sure I do a bit extra in the gym now to beat him next time.

There are no days off when you're injured, it's the treatment room every day. As soon as you can get your boots and start running, the physios start to work you even harder than you normally would when you're training every day with the lads. This is to make sure you are as ready as can be when you're called upon to jump into the first team, so don't think I've been having a relaxing time of it being unable to play.

While I've been doing my rehab it's given me plenty of time to think about the best players I've played against. After giving you the best 11 players I've played with a few weeks ago, a few people have asked me about the best players I've played against - so here is the first half of my team (you'll have to come back for the rest next week)...

Goalkeeper - Peter Schmeichel

Probably the best goalkeeper the Premier League has ever seen and arguably the best keeper in the world when he was at Manchester United. The amount of points he must have saved Man Utd and the number of games he must have won them is staggering.

Peter Schmeichel
Peter Schmeichel enjoys plenty of success with Manchester United

They were fighting to win the first title for a number of years and I think he took them to next level as soon as he came through the door. When Man Utd won the Treble he saved a penalty from Dennis Bergkamp in the FA Cup semi-final.
He made some great saves in the big games but he also seemed to be doing it every week. He was so commanding of his area and he was just an amazing goalkeeper all-round.
I actually managed to score past Schmeichel, so that's something I am very proud of. We beat them 2-1 at Roker Park - I scored with a little right foot tap-in underneath his body to open the scoring and John Mullin scored the winner.

Right-back - Gary Neville

Mr Consistent over the years. Gary has been a long-term servant for Manchester United and he is so hard to play against. Defending, he is really tough to get past, and at the other end he offered a lot going forward.

His final delivery was first-class. You don't stay at Man Utd as many years as he has unless you're a top, top player. He's been a model professional from the day he made his debut until the present day.

I played against Gary a few times, either on the left wing or as an attacking left-back, and you knew when you were up against him that you were never in for an easy game.
He's fully committed to winning every game he plays in. He's a leader and you could tell that even when he was 20 years of age.

Nothing has changed in that respect. He's adapted to the foreigners coming into our game and my friends at Man Utd tell me that he is always first out onto the training ground and he's usually one of the last back into the dressing rooms, so that tells you about his dedication.

Centre-back - John Terry

An out-and-out leader. He's a first-class player and one of the best centre-halves we've seen in the Premier League. He's a really nice guy - although you wouldn't think so when you see him on the pitch because he would run through brick walls.

He is a nice-natured guy though and you can see why he is the England captain. As soon as you say his name people think 'leader' and you want someone like that in charge of your country. A couple of weeks ago we saw how disappointed he was at conceding two set-piece goals and it shows you how much it means to him and that he hates conceding.

Most of my memories of playing against John Terry will probably be bad memories because every time you played against him you knew you were in for a tough game. That's why goals against teams like Chelsea with players like John Terry in the side are priceless.

Centre-back - Tony Adams

A key part of that famous back four at Arsenal with David Seaman behind him. I was captain at Sunderland the first couple of times we played against him and when the referee blew his whistle for you to go into the centre circle to shake hands and flip a coin you just felt he had this presence about him.

When you play a top team it's as if they have one up on you already with someone like Tony Adams leading them.

I was involved in one or two England squads with Tony - he was a fantastic man, an amazing player and a great leader.

Being on the same training pitch as Tony Adams was great and he trained just as he played in matches; with a massive desire to win. He was totally commanding of his back four and you could hear his voice for the whole 90 minutes of a match - not only directing his back four but the whole team.

Left-back - Ashley Cole

I played more against him when he was at Arsenal but I thought that was when he was at his best. He's at that level now with Chelsea but back then he had this freedom to get forward at any occasion.

When you were playing a team like Arsenal the last thing you wanted was another attacker coming for you because they had more than enough forwards in their strikeforce anyway.

His energy levels are incredible and he's so quick that you just couldn't stop him marauding forward from that left-back position.

Left-backs have come and gone over the years but Ashley hasn't looked back since he got into the England team and I expect him to be in the 100 Club in the next couple of years because he is still one of the best left-backs in the world and already has loads of caps.

Well, that's the defence sorted, I'll bring you the midfield and strikers next week, hopefully after three points for the Owls against QPR this weekend!


  • 1. At 1:02pm on 05 Nov 2009, Buckfast-Wine wrote:

    Decent enough defence... Did you ever play against jaap stam? What a guy

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  • 2. At 1:05pm on 05 Nov 2009, Teiam - problem solved wrote:

    It's a good list so far though I imagine people are going to give you stick for it, you just can't please people on these boards and I hope people understand that their team selection people will disagree with before they come out moaning.

    Biscuit tins? Wow, football is really advancing nowadays... Good blog and good luck this weekend!

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  • 3. At 1:12pm on 05 Nov 2009, Paul wrote:

    Some fine players there but there are several others worth a mention

    David Seaman, Dennis Irwin, Gary Pallister and Des Walker (was he before your time?)

    Can't argue too much with the above though, maybe swap Terry for Rio...

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  • 4. At 1:15pm on 05 Nov 2009, Gary wrote:

    Good blog. Dont think to many people will disagree with that goalie and defense can tell you like players with a lot of passion

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  • 5. At 1:31pm on 05 Nov 2009, Jim Greaves wrote:

    Great blogg Mikey.

    I'd have thought Mr Strafford would have upgraded our medical staffs tool kit by now mate.

    I'm liking the team so far, very strong and english except the goalie. Did you ever play against Chris Waddle? A true hero of mine and every Wednesdayite but I'm sure you know that by now.

    Was it John Murray who brought swine flu into the club? He's always got man flu and he's been like that since I was a kid! It must have mutated in him lol.

    I will look forward to next weeks mid and forward line and don't forget Waddle "hint hint".


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  • 6. At 1:56pm on 05 Nov 2009, Tony wrote:

    You've been had Michael, it really is just a biscuit tin!

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  • 7. At 2:05pm on 05 Nov 2009, Lagellerotumblero - Show goes on after 606 wrote:

    Hi Michael, sure some people won't agree with your choices, for instance I wouldn't've expected G.Neville's name to turn up, but you were the one on the pitch, no us, so why should I object?

    Just wanted to ask out of interest...what was your first ever car? And what do you drive now?

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  • 8. At 2:31pm on 05 Nov 2009, mattccfc85 wrote:

    Another snooze-fest of a blog.

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  • 9. At 3:42pm on 05 Nov 2009, imaginger wrote:

    Although John Terry and Tony adams are good defenders, who is going to sweep? And neither is blessed with great pace

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  • 10. At 3:44pm on 05 Nov 2009, wayne dennett wrote:

    Another excellent blog. We were at the Bristol City game and the team played well. maybe with your extra bit of quality, it could have been the difference between a win and a draw.

    I see your serial stalker is commenting again (Post 8) Think you should send him a signed photo to keep him happy.

    Just a thought for right back, did you ever play against Roland Nilsson? He was a terrific right back and one of the best players ever to wear the blue and white.

    Hoping to see you playing on saturday, especially as it keeps the missus happy as she loves you :-)

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  • 11. At 4:35pm on 05 Nov 2009, bringmethehorizon wrote:

    3. paultheinfamous
    Can't argue too much with the above though, maybe swap Terry for Rio...


    Your a joke and a Man U fan.

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  • 12. At 11:45pm on 05 Nov 2009, ColBlackCat wrote:

    Hey Mickey, you must be a real sight with that biscuit tin on your sure it's treatment or just the treatment room's revenge for your comments the other week?
    One ex-teammate of yours who has had his fair share of injuries is Michael Bridges. He has just arrived here in Australia to play for Newcastle (apologies for using the word!) United Jets. he scored last week but the Jets are currently bottom of the table (just behind Robbie fowler's outfit from Queensland). Did you ever get tempted or offered to play abroad and do you think the Oz idea of recruiting ex Premiership players a good one?

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  • 13. At 11:49pm on 05 Nov 2009, ColBlackCat wrote:

    PS Forgot to mention I liked your XI that you played with: that team with you, Johnston, Summerbee and Makin on the flanks was a joy to watch with Quinny and SuperKev banging the goals. Perhaps you should do an XI of the fashion victims so Lionel Perez could get a game (although to be fair he was a great shot stopper)

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  • 14. At 00:00am on 06 Nov 2009, Jer wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 15. At 11:08am on 06 Nov 2009, Dave wrote:

    What about Sasa Ilic! He wasn't bad was he?

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  • 16. At 11:37am on 06 Nov 2009, HillwalkIreland wrote:

    3. paultheinfamous
    Can't argue too much with the above though, maybe swap Terry for Rio...


    Your a joke and a Man U fan.


    Ye're both havin a laugh. Mark Wright or John Scales would've wiped the floor with the two of those lads.

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  • 17. At 11:49am on 06 Nov 2009, GaryTheAddick wrote:

    Got to agree with Mysterynets, surely the best keeper you came up against was Sasa?

    Other than that back 4 is pretty spot on, Ashley Cole is still the best left back in world football.....

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  • 18. At 1:19pm on 06 Nov 2009, the_fosse wrote:

    Not a bad selection, kind of surprised Ashley Cole pipped Michael Gray though!!

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  • 19. At 5:52pm on 06 Nov 2009, bringmethehorizon wrote:

    16. HillwalkIreland,

    Did Mark Wright or John Scales ever play against Michael Gray?
    I don't know wat was so special about John Scales anyhow. Maybe because your a liverpool fan.

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  • 20. At 10:49am on 07 Nov 2009, CollingwoodFTM wrote:

    Hey Mickey, slightly off topic, but are you gutted you won't be playing at the @ St James' Park Stadium this season?

    How did the Shef Wed players react to the new name? Do you think the Newcastle players will get some stick this season from opposition players?

    I've had to have my sides restitched from laughing so much.:-) So I hope it has not hampered your recouperation too much.

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  • 21. At 12:47pm on 09 Nov 2009, Barlow wrote:

    Thought I would see Jack Charlton up there ? did`nt you make your debut against him ?? LOL ;).. enjoying the blogs.. cant wait to hear about when you used to play with real leather lace up balls !!

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  • 22. At 8:57pm on 09 Nov 2009, Wayne wrote:

    Great blog Michael

    I know theres a cash-flow problem at Hillsborough but surely we don't have to resort to 18th century medicine!!! (I'm pretty sure sitting on a biscuit tin won't cure anything)

    Quick question though Do you have a footballing nemesis?

    By nemesis I mean someone you especially enjoy competing against.

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