Craig Cathcart's burgeoning career hit a set-back earlier this year with injury whilst on loan at Watford. But he's hoping to put injuries behind him and while everyone else was either at the World Cup or sunning themselves on a beach somewhere, the Belfast-born defender was putting in the hard yards at Carrington...
So, for fans that perhaps last saw you in regular action for the U18s and Reserves, what have you been up to since?
Since the U18s I’ve been on loan at Antwerp for six months, but I was a bit unlucky with injuries. The next season I was at Plymouth. I played a lot of games there and I thought I did quite well. I came back to United and had a few games in pre-season, then went out on loan again to Watford, then picked up an injury and I’ve been out since Christmas. So I’m just coming back to fitness now.
And you’ve been in at Carrington over the summer putting in the hard yards to get yourself fit for the new season…
Yeah, I’ve been in nearly all summer. I’ve had some time off, but otherwise I’ve been working hard. I’ve never been injured over the summer so I’m used to having six weeks off. It’s different! But I’ll be a lot better and a lot fitter for it. It won’t take me as long to get my fitness back, so I’ll have a head start on a few of our lads! But it’s been quiet here – there have only been a few lads in - so it’ll be good to catch up with everyone this week and get stuck into training.
So, what work have you been doing then at Carrington while everyone else has been sunning themselves?
Initially I couldn’t do anything on my leg for ten weeks because of the injury – I fractured my shin bone – so I did mostly upper-body stuff, then once the ten weeks had passed I could start running. So I’ve been running for a couple of weeks now. I just need to get a bit more fitness before I can join the rest of the group. All the work I’ve been doing definitely feels like it’s paying off. I feel stronger. I’ll be fully fit in a week or two and then I’ll be ready to start pre-season.