Chelsea, Charlton and now England U21 midfielder Conor Gallagher has opened up about having heart surgery, and how it drives him to achieve and appreciate playing the game.
A first full international debut for Gallagher on Friday night and a first goal for Aidy Boothroyd’s team.
The Chelsea-midfielder scored the second of three goals on the night to give England a fairly easy 3-0 win over Albania, with a left-footed strike from outside the box just before half-time.
Gallagher, 19, spoke to The Daily Mail over the weekend, and opened up about having minor heart surgery only last year, and what it means now to be playing for his country:
“It definitely drives me on because it’s a bit of a scare, isn’t it? It makes you appreciate it more when you’re out there on the pitch playing.
“You have to give 100 per cent because every single one of us is lucky to be here. Ever since it happened, after the surgery, I’ve just wanted to prove myself.
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“I’ve come back fitter, stronger. I’ve set myself small targets and I feel that is the better way to do it because I didn’t expect to be starting on Friday night and I did and then did well. I can set more targets.”
Gallagher has now represented England at every level from U17 to U21 and it comes in time with his first season as a first-team player.
He’s played 16 games on-loan at Charlton this season and scored five goals, in what is his maiden experience outside of the Chelsea academy.
He’s proved a fine acquisition by Lee Bowyer at Charlton – fans love Gallagher and he’s seemingly loving life in the Championship.
A scorer of fine goals, Gallagher can add another one to his growing collection after the Albania match, but his and his team’s focus will now turn to the return of the league this weekend.
Charlton host Cardiff City this weekend in what will be Neil Harris’ first game in charge of the Welsh club – Gallagher and co will be hoping to give his a tough start to life after Millwall, and get their first win in four at the weekend.