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Dec 16, 2019   |  1:35AM AET

Comeback kid

Comeback kid

Life experiences have taught Jordan O’Doherty to overcome setbacks.

In the sometimes unforgiving world of professional football, Jordan O’Doherty has learned much about survival and mental toughness.

For someone just three years out of his teens, the Western Sydney Wanderers midfielder has already had his fair share of tough experiences that would likely have broken someone of lesser strength and character.

O’Doherty’s first real challenge came as a 16-year-old when he shifted to Melbourne to try and forge a professional career, having been loaned by the Adelaide Raiders to NPL club Melbourne Knights in 2014.

During the six month spell in Melbourne, O’Doherty also spent time with the Melbourne Victory youth team.

“Did I handle it? Nah, I was a bit too young I reckon,” said O’Doherty frankly.

“It was quite hard being away from home because we are quite a close-knit family. Mum and Dad made so many sacrifices for me in life and, especially football wise and I will be forever grateful to them.

“I am also very close to my two younger brothers and I stay in touch with them every day.”

Jordan O'Doherty

Having returned to Adelaide to link with the Adelaide United NPL side, O’Doherty eventually got his breakthrough in the A-League, signing on with the Reds’ senior side, where he played 28 games (one goal) before joining the Wanderers on a three year deal in 2018.

O’Doherty became a regular starter with the Red & Black during the 2018/19 season and was making some real  headway until disaster struck in a game against Perth Glory at Spotless Stadium on 24 February. O’Doherty ruptured his ACL in a tackle inside the box and required a knee reconstruction.

The youngster missed the last seven games of the season and the first 10 games this season before being given the all-clear to return to playing after nine months of rehabilitation.

Having learned from the previous experiences, the 22-year-old said he remained positive throughout his time out of the game.

“I’d say this has been the hardest period of my life,” admitted O’Doherty.

“The truth is, I feel I coped really well mentally with the injury.

“Yeah, there have been a lot of hard stages and frustrating stages but I have stayed really positive. I guessed it helped that I had the security of a contract.”

Jordan O'Doherty

The time out at least allowed O’Doherty to work on his skills on FIFA, though he says he is no match for his younger brother, Jamie, who plays it for a bit of a living.

“Jamie is involved in the E-League and is very good. I am like a two rating compared to his 10, but when it comes to playing the lads here then I am a 10,” laughed O’Doherty.

Now ready to make his long-awaited comeback after 10 months on the sidelines recovering from his knee reconstruction, O’Doherty can’t wait to put on the Red & Black jersey on again and make up for lost time.

“It’s really just a matter of getting a bit of match practice with the youth team and getting the confidence back,” explained O’Doherty.