"They said if it had got much worse we might have been looking at losing the foot.”
Micheal Keane has revealed how serious his injury last season was, which resulted in him playing in boots two sizes too big and playing under heavy medication.
On the wrong end of a two-footed challenge from Sunderland forward James Vaughan, Keane discussed the extent of his horror injury.
Keane: “I played on, but I knew that something wasn’t right and I had a hole straight through the top of my boot from his studs.
“I went in at half-time and my foot was aching but I didn’t do anything about it and played the second half. When I took my boot off again there was blood everywhere”
Despite medical recommendations of three weeks recovery, Keane returned to training to help his team just 10 days later, relying heavily on painkillers and a switch in boot sized 10 to size 12.
Keane’s injury eventually caught up to him following Everton’s 5-2 defeat to Arsenal last season, when he was rushed to hospital with an infection that had begun to rise up to his knee.
“If it had kept going up my leg that’s when it really gets serious — they said if it had got much worse we might have been looking at losing the foot.
“I developed a thick skin. Naturally, when things aren’t going well, you get stick from fans and there were times I didn’t want to go out in public.
“In hindsight, maybe it wasn’t best for me to keep playing — but I can’t say I’ve regrets.
“I was brought up to show determination. I didn’t want my teammates to think that I’d shy away from problems. The team was struggling and I wanted to be in the thick of the action.
“It was gutting not to go to the World Cup but I knew I had my own performances to blame — even if the reasons for those performances maybe weren’t my fault.”