Stynes focused on positives following injury-ravaged season

When Daniel Stynes signed his first professional contract with Glory in September last year following an outstanding NPL campaign for the Academy side, the promising youngster was on top of the world.

But he soon came to learn that football can be a cruel game when he tore his hamstring the very same day.

The 2017-18 Hyundai A-League season was set to be the midfielder's debut campaign. Instead, months of gruelling rehab ensued.

While many would take the injury as a major setback, however, Stynes had the presence of mind and a sufficiently strong support group around him to ensure he would return to the first-team fold.

"It's been a really tough season, I'm not going to lie," he said. "It's something you wouldn't expect after just signing, but I had great support in those tough moments.

"My family and teammates helped drive me to get back playing and use the disappointment as a positive in regards to working on other areas, such as building up some muscle in the gym and working on other parts that I couldn't work on if I was playing."

A month into rehab, his breakout NPL WA performances in 2017 were acknowledged as he claimed the prestigious Dylan Tombides Young Player of the Year Award, an honour which  further fuelled Stynes' determination and desire to force his way back.

However, the injury crisis that duly struck Glory's A-League midfield was a tough pill to swallow for the 19-year-old given the opportunities that it would have potentially sent his way.

Stynes

 

"That was a really hard one," he said. "At one point you have to be happy for your fellow teammates getting opportunities, but on the other hand, you know that if you were in and around the squad fit, then you would've played. I'm really happy for the players that got in and got some game time; it obviously means a lot to them."

The time away from the training track allowed the youngster to work on his upper body strength, core and stability alongside full-back Scott Neville who was also sidelined at the time with a broken toe. And Stynes speaks very highly of his fellow-Perth local.

"Neville is definitely someone who has helped me, especially in terms of professionalism," he said. "He was injured at the same time as me, so we spent a lot of rehab time together. Neville and [Andy] Keogh are players I've really learnt a lot from. They may play in different positions to me, but Keogh's goal scoring and work off the ball is something I try to model my game on."

Despite having trained with the first team for over a year, Stynes insists he still gets a buzz out of working alongside the plethora of experienced talent at the club.

"Every day you come in and it's a privilege to train with them," he said. "The likes of Xavi Torres and Andreu have played at Barcelona, Keogh and Neil Kilkenny have played in the Premier League, so it's a real privilege for us young boys to experience that and witness what it takes on and off the pitch to forge a career. All of them are great professionals and even at this stage of their careers, they're still in the gym after every session and working on different areas of their game, so that's been massive for me to see them work."

Stynes also went on to praise the momentous impact Kilkenny has had upon the squad since arriving in January, both on and off the field.

Stynes receiving his shirt from club owner and chairman, Tony Sage


"He doesn't smash you with what he says, he's a really big help for the younger lads in the squad," he revealed. "His awareness is unbelievable, he knows where everything is, he's always got a clear picture in his head of where he wants to play the ball next and I think for all of us midfield and wide players, it's crucial to learn off players like 'Killa' who have played at the top level for so long."

After enduring a lengthy rehab process, Stynes has bounced back in impressive fashion by helping the Perth Glory Academy side make an inspired start to the new NPL campaign. He's already netted three times and has played a pivotal role in driving John Gibson's side to third spot following four wins in six games.

His swift return to form after returning to fitness has alleviated the anxiety associated with any injury of the magnitude Stynes sustained, but he was quick to credit his teammates for contributing to the team's early-season displays.

"It's been class playing with the young squad," he said. "I've been brought up through this system, so it's good to be back here on my return from injury. We've got a few first-team players in the team, such as Joe Knowles, Jake Brimmer and Brandon Wilson. We just seem to be doing extremely well at the minute, which has been great.

"Gibbo [John Gibson] has been a massive help for me. He's been my coach for a number of years now and has always helped me with my football. Even when I wasn't playing this season, he'd be telling me to get myself back 100% and not to rush anything. He's definitely played a significant role in what's been a good start for myself and the team."

Stynes is adamant that he's feeling stronger and better than ever following his stint on the sidelines and is now determined to reintroduce himself into Kenny Lowe's plans next season.

"I want to break into the first team, that's the biggest one for me," he said. "I want to start getting a consistent run of games after missing a whole season of A-League action now, so it's important that I pick up where I started and continue to improve. That begins with a massive off-season so that I come back in for pre-season firing."

You can catch Stynes and the rest of the Academy side this Saturday in Round 7 of the NPL, as they take on reigning champions Bayswater City at Ashfield Arena from 3pm.

Or watch a live broadcast of the game at https://www.facebook.com/PerthGloryFC/

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