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Interviews

In Depth | George Nurse

6 March 2024

Interviews

In Depth | George Nurse

6 March 2024

George Nurse is well-suited to Shropshire.

From the vibrant, busy and bustling Bristol, the 24-year-old and his partner, along with their nine-month-old baby daughter, are enjoying life in their new home.   

“Me and my partner have been together for over five years now,” Nursey explained. “She’s from Bristol and we moved up here together.   

“We got a little flat in Bristol and then when I’ve been on loan to Newport and Walsall, she’s moved with me, but now we’re settled here.   

“When we first moved up, we rented in Telford for the first two seasons and then when I got offered my new deal, we bought a place in Shrewsbury near the stadium.   

“We’re like an old married couple. We like going for walks, spending time together, going for coffee around Shrewsbury – we like the Shropshire life!”  

It will come as no surprise that fatherhood has changed a lot in Nursey’s life.   

“We’ve had a little one since I’ve had my injury. She’s nine months now and keeps us on our toes,” he said with a smile.   

“It puts things into perspective. Some things that I used to worry about now become irrelevant.   

“Thinking about her being able to come and watch me next season is a big source of motivation. It helps me keep focussed on those days when I come into training but I don’t feel like I’m making any progress.”   

Nursey has had a lot of rotten luck in the past couple of years, suffering two anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries in two seasons.

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First sustaining the injury against Burton Albion in August 2022, the left-back was again dealt the dreadful blow in July 2023 in a pre-season friendly with Coventry City, ending his 2023/24 campaign before it had even begun.   

“I was pretty certain I’d done it again,” Nursey recalled. “It happened late on in the game but the mechanism and how he landed on me, I just had a feeling.   

“I felt a snap the first time but because I didn’t feel anything the second time, I thought I might’ve gotten away with it.”   

When asked why that might’ve been, Nursey elaborated, explaining how unsettling the situation was: “I believe there’s a nerve that runs through the ACL, and once that goes you can’t feel any pain.   

“I didn’t have any pain, I just lost feeling of where my knee was.   

“If you shut your eyes, you know where your knee is and where it’s moving, but I couldn’t feel where my knee was at all. It was such a weird sensation.”   

Returning to his story, George continued: “I remember coming off the pitch, going into the physio room and doing a few of the generic ACL tests.   

“I don’t think Skitty (Chris Skitt, Town’s head of medical performance) wanted to tell me at the time, but I asked him to tell me what he thought for my peace of mind, and he said he didn’t want to say 100% but he was pretty sure I’d done it again.   

“It was weird. I just went numb,” he recalled.   

“I couldn’t believe what was happening, it was like I was in a dream.   

“I think I burst out crying again and then it turned to anger and I hit a few doors. It was just a bit of a whirlwind.   

“It’s hard to talk about really because it was such a weird time.   

“I didn’t know how I was feeling, all these emotions at one time.   

“My old man came in and took me away from the situation, took me home, and I probably cried myself to sleep that night.”

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Devasted, Nursey heeded the advice of the club and those around him, immediately taking some time away from work.   

“I had a few days at home in Shrewsbury with the Mrs and the little one.   

“I then had the scan confirmed and I had a week off immediately. The club told me to get away from the situation, clear my head and process what had happened.   

“I went back home; I was around family and tried to take my mind off it.   

“When I came back, I was straight into the rehab.”   

The operation was the next big hurdle on the horizon.    

“The graft that they take and put in as your new ACL takes nine months to heal,” Nursey elucidated.   

“It's weird. This time they took it from my patella – which is a ligament – and they coiled it up and put it back in as an ACL.  

“It then dies after three months and regrows as a tendon.   

“That then takes six months to heal, taking you to the nine months of recovery time.   

“You get to a strange place after four or five months where you feel pretty normal.    

“You’re in the gym, doing things with a football, running, but you just know that you can’t get back any quicker.”   

While competitive football may still be off the table for now, Nursey can live a relatively normal life and even enjoy some other sports in his spare time.   

“I’ve recently got into golf. I’m not very good but I can make my way around a course,” he smiled.   

“There was a period after the injury when you can’t do anything, when you have to focus on getting back fit, walking, running, but I can now play golf even with my injury.   

“I just really enjoy being out there and when you hit one good shot it’s very rewarding.   

“I haven’t done my handicap yet, but I play with Harry Burgoyne a lot and he says it’s probably in the high teens.”  

Six months on from his operation, George is closing in on completing his recovery. However, the highly-rated left-back revealed Salop fans definitely won’t be seeing him in action this season.   

"I’ve still got a few months of recovery left but we decided that with my new contract, I wouldn’t play again this season. It gives me a bit more time to make sure I'm ready.   

“I should be back in training soon.    

“I’m out on the grass doing most things on my own with the physio and hopefully I’ll be joining in with the boys later this month.   

“Contact is the last thing we need to check off the list in my recovery.   

“We’re not avoiding it but there’s no need to risk it at this stage because I’m not trying to play any games yet.  

“It just gives me that extra time to make sure I’m right for next season.” 

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