Darius Charles: Wycombe boss Gareth Ainsworth praises returning defender

Darius Charles in action for Wycombe
Darius Charles made eight appearances for Wycombe last season

Wycombe Wanderers defender Darius Charles deserves "all the credit in the world" after returning from a long-term hip injury, says boss Gareth Ainsworth.

The 31-year-old was released by the Chairboys in May, having been told he would have to retire by a surgeon.

But the ex-Stevenage and Wimbledon man rejoined the club last week, making his first appearance since November in Tuesday's draw at Fleetwood.

"It was a real leader's performance," Ainsworth told BBC Three Counties.

"That man sat in my office at the end of the season with tears in his eyes. I know he won't mind me saying this because I'm sure a lot of players have been there.

"He was told he had to retire, he felt like he didn't contribute enough last season and I said to him 'you contributed more than you could ever know, off the pitch as well as on it'."

Upon signing a deal until January, Charles said the injury had "stripped" him of his self-esteem, affecting his mental health.

But he was able to prove his fitness after returning to Wycombe for pre-season.

"He signed a short-term deal, on not a million pounds a week, and he's willing to prove himself to go, I want to contribute for Wycombe Wanderers," Ainsworth added.