Injuries are bastards, we can all agree on that. Sometimes they're merely rude, interrupting a player for a few days as they go about their business. But other times they're important, significant bastards, stalling careers for months at a time, and then hanging around afterwards. Changing footballers. Diminishing them. Slowing them down.
Antonio Valencia has had a few major injuries during his time with Manchester United. There was that bizarre ankle-break against Rangers, where his leg seemed to give way under the pressure of nothing more than an awkward landing. There was another ankle problem, picked up with Ecuador, just before the 2011-12 season. And then this season he knackered his foot against Manchester City on October, needed surgery, and only recently returned to the team.
It's probably to Valencia's credit that he even came back as a footballer at all. If this particular aspect of the Busby Babe's body had gone wrong in such consistent and untrustworthy fashion, we'd have moved into something far more sedentary. (Like, er, writing on websites.) But he carries those injuries with him and you can see them, as he moves up and down the wing, as he does his best as an auxiliary rightback. A one-time flier, edge dulled, feet now firmly on the ground.
Altogether now. "I'm a plane!"