Eunan O'Kane opens up over injury woes and the moment he was told he had no Leeds United future
Leeds United midfielder Eunan O'Kane has recalled the moment he was told he had no future at the club as "blunt" but admits it is "part and parcel" of being a footballer.
The 29-year-old midfielder was deemed surplus to requirements over 18 months ago following the arrival of Marcelo Bielsa in West Yorkshire.
O'Kane had featured regularly for the Whites, racking up 58 appearances for Leeds under three different managers following his move from Bournemouth in the summer of 2016.
The Argentine, though, made wholesale changes to his squad upon his arrival with O'Kane one of a number of players to be told they had no chance of first team football in LS11.
"Blunt," O'Kane told Balls.ie of his treatment.
"I don't remember the exact date the manager took charge, but it was that summer and I got a call from Victor Orta (Leeds director of football).
"He just told me straight out. 'We brought in a new manager, he doesn’t see you as part of his plans. It is probably best you look to go on loan or move on to get some football.'
"I was still on holiday. Apparently, he watched all of the games from the previous season and made his decision based on that.
"It was hugely frustrating but that is football at the end of the day. How many managers take over clubs and all of a sudden, someone who was playing previously or thought they were an important part of the team finds it has changed.
"It is part and parcel of the industry we are in. We (O'Kane and Bielsa) have never had a conversation. He gets on with his business and I get on with mine."
The Republic of Ireland international made the move to Luton Town for the 2018-19 campaign but saw his season ended by a double leg break in September of last year.
After an initial nine to fifteen month time frame over a return to action, O'Kane has since been fighting his way back to full fitness at Thorp Arch with individual sessions under the watchful eye of United's medical staff.
He was spotted training alone during one of the club's Under-23s fixtures earlier this season, but has recently undergone a second operation following a complication in his rehabilitation process which required a bone graft to his leg.
"I had been outside running, kicking, jumping. Pretty much doing everything," he revealed.
"I think on average I was covering 22 kilometres per week. But between myself and the physio, we knew something was wrong.
"I still had a limp and it didn’t seem to be going away. We knew I wasn’t ready to go back and play so we went to see the surgeon. He could tell something was wrong."
Now, O'Kane is aiming to be ready for a return to football in January and is hopeful of a move to get his career back on track: "I am fit. I have been on bikes and things like that.
"I haven’t been lying around which helps. The aim is to be back on the grass in the next two to three weeks."