Carly Telford column: “I knew it was bad the moment I went down, I heard the biggest crack I’ve ever heard”

Notts County and England goalkeeper Carly Telford is back to discuss the changes to the FA Women’s Super League from 2017 and the injury that has ruled her out for the rest of the current season.
Winter is coming

Personally I’m really excited by the changes to the FA WSL schedule for next year; I think it’s a positive thing for the league. There has been this illusion for some time that we play all our football outside the men’s season but the reality is we maybe play three or four games during the summer and the rest coincide with the men’s season.

I don’t think it will be too bad in terms of clashes – our pitch is very well maintained during the season but a lot of the League 1 & 2 grounds have their pitches re-laid during the summer and it messes with the fixtures. We saw that happen with Doncaster’s cup game a few weeks ago. So I think logistically it will work much better by running alongside the men’s season. For us, I think it will be better and for teams like Manchester City with their own stadium it will be much better. We’ll probably see a lot of double-header fixtures and what not. We need more consistency because we want more fans to turn up and more people to be interested in women’s football and by having a proper structure, I think it will help those aspects of the game.

I think it was due a change, it needed a revamp because a lot of fans and even players complain that teams play four or five times in a few weeks and then don’t play for two months, it just hasn’t worked but I do hope that it’s the right decision moving forward and The FA get behind the teams and the men’s teams so everyone can work together and make it sustainable.

The worrying thing for England was that after the Women’s World Cup we came back and played FA WSL games less than a week after we returned and that just wasn’t good. The strains on every player put a lot of people at risk, we came back to play Sunderland and I’ve never seen a team wilt as quickly as we did. The whole spine of our team had been in Canada and in the second half it was like watching them melt away – the drop was unbelievable and it was the same for most teams in the league. If we were going to Rio, we’d have been playing right up to the tournament itself and would have little chance of protecting ourselves. You should be able to play football without worrying about an injury that will rule you out of a tournament because it starts a week after you’ve injured yourself.

It killed us playing so soon after the World Cup. You look at Cristiano Ronaldo and he’s still on holiday after the Euro’s – we had two days off and we were back into training for a game at the weekend, it was crazy and wasn’t good for anyone.
Injury nightmare

I must admit I knew it was bad from the moment I went down – I heard the biggest crack I’ve ever heard in my life and I just thought it was broken. I thought it had completely snapped. That made me panic, officials were running on and Laura Bassett just told the referee to blow for half-time. I remember everyone trying to tell me to relax and I was using a lot of words I probably can’t repeat and I knew it was bad because the pain when they tried to move the ankle was so intense.

I’ve dislocated my shoulder and had upper body injuries but that was the first time I’d ever had a serious lower body injury, I had to go on the gas and air and it distracted me a little bit. Our physio Christa is pregnant at the moment and I was so worried about her carrying me off – I think that was the gas and air effect!

It really hit me when I got back in the changing room and I saw the size of my ankle! I came to a very quick conclusion that it wasn’t ok. It took a long time to get a prognosis once I found out it wasn’t broken. You have to go for MRI scans, x-rays, and you hope it’s not that bad – that’s the hardest part and it took a while to find out I’d ruptured the ligaments. Then you have to wait another three or four days for an operation. There was still hope I could make the end of the season or the internationals but now it’s clear I will miss the rest of the season, I have to look after myself because those six days were the hardest I’ve had.

You’ve got parents who are keen to find out what’s going on, friends are texting you, Rick [Passmoor] is ringing to try and find out how I am and it all gets a bit on top of you. But after a few days of surgery the pain was pretty much gone, now it’s a case of getting back fit over the winter but I wouldn’t wish the injury on anyone. I’ve got good people around me – Sophie Bradley and Chelsea Weston have been in similar situations and the fans at Notts County have been amazing. I couldn’t have asked for a better response – even though I’m a generally positive person as it is – it really helps keep your spirits up.
Bouncing back

Last week I was a pundit for BT Sport when Notts County hosted Manchester City and it couldn’t have gone too much worse. The girls were very apologetic after the game: “Sorry CT we didn’t give you much to go on” and I was like, “Yeah, cheers girls!” But on a serious note, I spoke to some teammates after the game and just asked, what went wrong?

The first half just went so desperately long. The game plan we spoke about all week just didn’t happen and that was our biggest issue. It was disjointed and the early goal set the tone because we looked like rabbits in the headlights. City were incredibly clinical – we let too many in-form players have a free shot at goal and they punished every small error that we made. It was a combination of our worst day and their best. They literally punished everything we did wrong.

They didn’t particularly score tap-ins – any goalkeeper, myself included, would have been very lucky to save any of their goals. We came out fighting a bit more in the second half but obviously they’d done the job by then. It was soul destroying to see us go down so easily because we’ve never been that team. I said to the girls when we got in that we’d never conceded that amount of goals – we might lose by one or two but we always defend for our lives and we give everyone a game. That was just so uncharacteristic for us but fortunately, we’ve at least addressed it in the short term.

We know we’re not that team. We put in a good performance against Reading and we should have taken all three points in the final minute but given what happened last week, we have to take away the positives from a point away from home. We’re working with new players, we’re working out what’s best and we had some injuries against Reading we weren’t expecting. I think Rick would have liked to play the same team to see what the response was like, bar Aileen coming in. Jade [Moore] played at centre-back and did a really good job and now I’m sure the gaffer will look over the small break we have now to work out how to move us forward.

Maybe 4-3-3 isn’t the best for us any more. We have a lot of strikers but not really any wingers. With Jade and Jo [Potter] coming in, do we crowd our midfield and move away from what we’re doing now? There’s a lot to look at – on our day, we play very well but when it goes wrong, people start asking a lot of questions…

Read more from Carly here!

Follow Carly on Twitter @carlytelford1

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