David Meyler

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Few players merit a reward as much as Meyler after returning to the premier league from his second knee injury last October.

Despite loan interest from Hull City, Meyler has featured in both of Sunderland’s opening two top-flight encounters this time around and insists his injury troubles are now firmly behind him.

“You learn about mental toughness from suffering setbacks like that”

You have to work harder than everyone else just to get that bit of fitness. I went to America for two weeks and worked on the strength of my knees and they couldn’t be stronger at the moment thanks to all the medical staff at Sunderland.

“There was always that fear (about my career). The talk to me was that the damage could have been that bad, that I mightn’t have been back for about two years. So to come back in nine months was a miracle.

“When I returned from the first injury, the club banned me from tackling and I used to get fined every time I tackled, which cost me quite a few bob.

“The way I play is that I tackle all the time, so it’s right in the back of my head now. It’s been so long since those injuries happened.”

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