SIMON Mignolet has been left demoralised by the fact that the facial injuries set to sideline him for the rest of the year have been so severe that he has been unable to take part in any rehabilitation so far.
The 23-year-old suffered both a broken nose and a fractured eye socket in Sunderland’s last home game, the match against Aston Villa, when Emile Heskey flung an arm up going for a corner and shattered the Belgian keeper’s face.
The injuries were so severe that Mignolet had to undergo surgery after the game and is not expected to play again until 2012.
The Belgian is a naturally optimistic and positive character but admits he has found it hard to remain upbeat when he is unable to make even the smallest steps towards recovery.
“I can’t do anything,” he said.
I can’t keep up my fitness and it is frustrating.
“I can’t even ride a bike, as I get headaches and nosebleeds.”
Mignolet went on to insist that goalkeepers need more protection from referees when going up for the ball.
But he stopped short of opening criticising the Villa player for what looked a potentially reckless challenge by the former England international.
“I did not take offence at Heskey,” he said. “But goalkeepers do need protecting.”