Aston Villa striker Wesley: Ben Mee flew at my legs like a madman

Villa striker Wesley has accused Burnley defender Ben Mee of “flying in like a madman” for the challenge he feared had ended his career.

Aston Villa's Wesley receives treatment after an injury during the Premier League match at Turf Moor, Burnley.
Aston Villa's Wesley receives treatment after an injury during the Premier League match at Turf Moor, Burnley.

Wesley spent more than 15 months on the sidelines with a serious knee injury after being tackled by Mee in Villa’s 2-1 win at Turf Moor in January last year.

Speaking in depth for the first time about the incident and his injury, the 24-year-old admitted to fearing he might never play again during the early stages of his gruelling rehabilitation.

And he was highly critical of Mee, who he claims has never apologised.

Wesley told Flemish paper Het Nieuwsblad: “It wasn’t an accident. If you look at the footage, you’ll see that he was after my legs. He flew in like a madman.

“But for me that is now a thing of the past. He never apologised. It could have been the end of my career, but it doesn’t matter to me any more. I can’t keep worrying about him or the past. I have to take care of myself and focus on the now.”

Wesley, who was Villa’s then record signing when he arrived in a £21million move from Club Brugge in 2019, has made just four substitute appearances for the club since returning to fitness. He returned to Brugge on a season-long loan last month and is focused on rebuilding his career.

He continued: “To complete a 15-month rehabilitation, you have to be strong in your head. Ten days after my surgery, I wondered if I would ever be able to play football again.

“I had to put in a cast for three months and was not allowed to walk. Then all sorts of things go through your head.

“I literally had to learn to walk again. My family was in Brazil, but my wife Izadora supported me. She told me every day that I would come back. At that point, you need someone by your side.

“It was the toughest period of my life. When I started playing football, my career only went uphill. Now I hope that the valley has been reached and I try to look up again. Luckily I’m still only 24. I believe I can get back to being as strong as before. I just have to work hard the way I’m doing. The most important thing is to play and make minutes.

“My first goal is to play. Since January 1, 2020 I have not started a game. After this year I will be under contract with Aston Villa for another two years.

“I may return, I may go to another club. But everything starts with having a good season here (at Brugge). Then we’ll see what comes.”

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