Former Sunderland academy prospect reveals he considered retiring aged just 23

Former Sunderland academy prospect Andrew Nelson has revealed he considered early retirement this summer – before committing to a second spell with National League North side Darlington.

Academy prospect considered retiring at 23-years-old

Striker Andrew Nelson has spoken candidly about how he considered ‘walking away’ from football due to injury.

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The Sunderland academy prospect is now in his second spell with National League North side Darlington following an unsuccessful period with Torquay United and he has now opened up on his struggles over the last 18-months that led to him questioning his career, despite being just 23-years-old.

Former Sunderland striker Andrew Nelson in action. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images).

“Because of the knee injury that I picked up at Torquay United, the pain has been really bad some days. I wondered whether it was worth going through the pain barrier anymore,” he told the Northern Echo.

Nelson spent the 2018-19 campaign on loan at Darlington before moving from the Stadium of Light to Dundee in 2019 where he enjoyed regular first team football.

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Nelson returned to Blackwell Meadows in the summer and scored his first goal in over two years against Blyth Spartans last weekend.

"With the Covid outbreak before that, it was two years since I last scored a goal, which was for Dundee in August 2019.

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“I must admit, I shut my eyes when I headed the ball – which you’re not supposed to do – and when I opened them again, the ball was just there for me to score.

“There’s no better feeling than scoring in front of your fans – long may it continue.”

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One to watch for Sunderland as Simon Grayson praises West Bromwich Albion loanee

The Black Cats will come up against a familiar face in the dugout this weekend when they travel to take on Fleetwood Town managed by Simon Grayson.

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Grayson was in charge for 18 games at the Stadium of Light in 2017 during the Championship campaign before he was sacked following a 3-3 draw with Bolton Wanderers.

Since then Grayson has had spells in charge at Bradford City and Blackpool before arriving at Highbury in January to take over the Cod Army in place of former Newcastle United midfielder Joey Barton.

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Grayson guided Fleetwood to 15th in the League One table last year with his side currently sitting 17th with two wins from their opening six games.

And ahead of Sunderland’s trip to the west coast this weekend Grayson has been full of praise for on-loan West Brom striker Callum Morton.

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The 21-year-old joined Grayson’s side in the summer from the Baggies and has impressed with four goals in his last two outings.

Speaking to Fleetwood Today Grayson said: “We’ve brought him in because he’s capable of doing that.

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“He showed at League Two level with Northampton that he’s a real capable footballer. He’s at West Brom for a reason, because they rate him highly.

“He’s a willing worker, his hold-up play is really good, he’s got an eye for a goal and it’s great to have him on board,” added the former Sunderland boss.

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