David Turnbull: Motherwell midfielder opens up on Celtic transfer saga

David Turnbull
David Turnbull, left, began his rehab on crutches following knee surgery

David Turnbull has spoken about how he had to learn to walk again after the "horrible" injury that scuppered his move from Motherwell to Celtic.

The midfielder, 20, was set to join the Scottish champions for a Fir Park record fee of £3.25m in June before failing his medical.

As a result, the Scottish Football Writers' young player of the year has been out of action since May following preventative knee surgery.

"It was horrible," said Turnbull.

"After the operation I couldn't even lift my leg. It was just like going from the highest to the lowest.

"My family all helped me, but I was just trying to think positively and I think it was six to eight weeks before I could start walking. And that was with crutches.

"I lost so much muscle in my leg and obviously I hadn't walked in two months. Davie [Henderson, club physio] was trying to teach me how to walk again and as silly as it sounds it was tough to do.

"Once I started walking I was just trying to get the strength back in my leg and that took a while as well."

Turnbull burst into the Motherwell first team last season, scoring 15 goals in 34 games for his boyhood heroes, 12 of them in the final 17 games of the campaign.

It triggered bids from clubs including both Celtic and Norwich City for the then teenager, with a move to Parkhead the preferred choice.

However, a previously undetected issue caused Turnbull's world to be turned upside down.

David Turnbull
David Turnbull scored 15 times in his breakthrough season at Motherwell

"My head was all over the place, to be honest," he explained to BBC Scotland. "I would just be sitting in my room or the living room and then my agent would phone me and tell me this team or the next team. It was team after team. My head was just everywhere and then bids started coming in and I knew it was going to be time up.

"I was obviously set for a big change in my life. Completely. I had been with Motherwell since I was 10. So it was going to be something really big to me. A lot different to what I had been doing.

"Then that came along. It was horrible. It was something I didn't know I had and I had to get it done. When I saw the scans it was massive and I just had to listen to the medical advice. But I've forgotten about that now and I just need to look to returning.

"Going back to Motherwell I knew that they would treat me well and everyone does treat me brilliantly. I know how well everyone loves me and I love the club as well. It helped a lot."

'I feel like I could contribute to the Scotland team'

Turnbull is determined to return to Stephen Robinson's side before the end of the season and has already set his sights on lofty goals.

The Motherwell boss said he hopes to have the attacking midfielder back in claret and amber before this season's split, and the twice-capped Under-21 player feels he could help the senior national squad when he returns to full fitness.

When asked if a spot in Steve Clarke's set-up was a realistic aim, he replied: "It will be.

"I just need to get back to my best. Hopefully as soon as possible. I need to get match fit but that is something I'll look to for the future.

"I do feel like I could contribute to the team."

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