Ben Burgess column: Benefits of painkillers outweigh my regrets

Phil Jones, whose England appearance after injections needled his club manager Jose Mourinho
Phil Jones, whose England appearance after injections needled his club manager Jose Mourinho
Share this article

After another week of silence on the Blackpool FC ownership saga, it enabled more focus on what was happening on the pitch for Gary Bowyer and his men.

What looked like a tough away fixture at Peterborough United turned into an excellent win courtesy of Kyle Vassell’s man of the match performance and his seventh goal of the season.

Tuesday’s fixture at home to Gillingham followed a similar pattern, with that man Vassell opening the scoring.

Unfortunately, six valuable points in a week eluded Blackpool after a 90th-minute Gills equaliser.

The Seasiders head into Saturday’s local derby at Fleetwood Town on exactly the same points as their rivals.

It seems a lifetime ago that Fleetwood and Blackpool were battling it out to avoid relegation to League 2.

Both clubs have been the subject of wonderful resurgences on the pitch since then and it’s great to see them both hovering around the play-off places now.

Away from the Seaside, we still have Jose Mourinho moaning – this time about the treatment of his central defender Phil Jones.

Mourinho claimed Jones was injured before travelling to meet up with Gareth Southgate’s squad and he was flabbergasted when Jones started the friendly against Germany and inevitably had to come off early on.

Subsequently, we have found out that the England team’s medical department felt it necessary to subject Jones to a course of six injections to get him through the game.

I’m actually on Jose’s side in this instance. You only had to look at the list of players who withdrew from the England squad prior to the two friendlies – Raheem Sterling, Fabian Delph and Danny Drinkwater to name a few. This proves that clubs and players are not willing to risk the slightest injury for a meaningless friendly.

The FA have commented that it’s standard practice to use the injections but it seems an extremely dangerous game to play with an extremely valuable commodity.

I’m not sure on the exact injections Jones had, but when I was on loan at Brentford as a 19-year-old I suffered a hamstring tear towards the end of the season.

We were chasing automatic promotion at the time and it was agreed that I would have injections in my hamstring before the game and at half-time.

I didn’t really have a clue what the injections entailed or about any lasting damage they could cause.

All I wanted to do was play in the match.

The injection was like magic. I literally couldn’t feel my hamstring at all. In fact, most of my leg felt numb! I played okay and lasted 90 minutes and we won 3-0.

I dread to think of the damage it actually caused my hamstring.

We have to remember that often the pain is a warning to rest your body and ignoring or masking this can lead to serious injury.

Unfortunately, I never really learned from this episode and, despite avoiding any more injections, I was always full of anti-inflammatories to stop my knee pain. I have no doubt that is why I now find myself unable to do a variety of sports and activities, and is the reason I’m facing a knee replacement at 40!

Should I have done things differently? Do I regret it?

Well, when I look back at the latter stages of my career, when I was forcing myself through abysmal games in League One, I do have a sense of regret but this is far outweighed by the fantastic times and promotions achieved at Hull City and Blackpool that I would have played no part in had I been painkiller free.

I think Jose may take the decision out of Phil Jones and the FA’s hands next time he’s called up by Southgate.