Sent home from a tour two years ago, Steven Finn has been sent out to one today after he was summoned from the UAE to join England’s Test squad in South Africa.
Finn has recovered from the stress fracture to the ball of his left foot and, after proving his fitness in Dubai, he will join up with Trevor Bayliss’ 16-man party in Potchefstroom today.
And Finn is grateful for the help of Watford, his boyhood club, in getting him back to full fitness. He spent time at the UCL training ground in London Colney either side of the game with Manchester United, running on the sidelines of the main pitch and using the anti-gravity treadmill under the guidance of Middlesex physio Peter Waxman.
“The friendly arm of Watford FC, through the chief executive and the physios, was extended to use the facilities here and I took it with both hands,” said Finn in an interview with Hornets Player. “The special treadmill takes the weight off when you are running and that’s a key part of my introduction back into running. I also had a little bit of love from the medical staff who gently eased me back in.”
The short trip up the M1 and round the M25 from his home in Maida Vale meant Finn did not have to make the longer drive north to The National Cricket Centre in Loughborough.
“The facilities here at Watford are excellent,” he said. “They are more advanced than county cricket, which is why I’ve been training here. I’m fortunate to have this affiliate deal as it meant I didn’t have to drive long distances for my rehab or do it at another Premier League club which, being a Watford fan, I didn’t want to do.”
Finn, 26, has been to the games with Crystal Palace and Manchester United, arguably the Hornets’ two poorest performances, so he is yet to see them win live this season. Results either side of that, however, have been remarkable and seventh-place in the Premier League is a quantum leap from Finn’s first game at Vicarage Road when he saw them beat Grimsby in their bid to preserve their Division One (now the Championship) status in 1996.
“It’s been fantastic,” he said. “I’ve being watching through the dark days for 20 years or so now. You see what’s going on now, getting a feel of what the players are like and the facilities, and it seems like an excellent place to play football. The performances on the pitch are showing that. The guys are really pushing some of the best teams in the league and the fact we are competing is a fantastic effort. I want us to stay in the Premier League but there is no reason why the bar can’t be set higher. They look to have the players and infrastructure to challenge higher and there is no ceiling on what this team can achieve.”
Finn joked there are a few “glory hunters” in the England dressing room, players who support the big clubs but he will at least have the bragging rights over the cricketers who support Liverpool and Chelsea right now in the pre-match games of football.
“It’s very competitive and there are a few dodgy tackles flying about,” said Finn. “We play long games of football and it’s good for our fitness and gives you a little lift every morning when you know you have ten minutes of football to look forward to.”