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Danny Senda praised Barnet for their support during his ultimatly unsuccessful battle to return from a knee injury
When Danny Senda walked out of the Underhill tunnel for a match against Swindon Town 14 months ago the right-back didn’t know it but it was to be his last game as a professional footballer.
Shortly before half-time he attempted a tackle. One that he had made many times before. But the challenge went horribly wrong.
It seemed innocuous but Senda dislocated his kneecap. His professional career, which had begun at Wycombe Wanderers in 1999, was all but over.
Speaking to the Times Series, the 31-year-old thanked Barnet fans for their support during his fight to regain fitness but admitted it was a battle he ultimately couldn’t win.
He said: “I didn’t think I could make it back to the standard you need to be at to compete in professional football. My surgeon said that it was probably best that I stop as well.
Above: Senda was stretchered off against Swindon Town. It was his last game in professional football.
“There are easier things in life than being told that you should stop. I have had a string of bad injuries and I think it would have been more difficult if it had been my first major injury.
“I knew when I did it that even if I was able to get back and be 100 per cent it would be difficult for a manager to put his trust in me. But there is life after football.”
Like many former players he has considered moving into management and plans to take his coaching badges in the summer.
But what is next for the former Millwall defender?
“I have trained to be a functional trainer for the last couple of years,” he said. “I have qualified now and have been given the opportunity to join a company that works with Championship and Premier League players to help make sure they stay clear of injuries and function as best they can.”
Senda’s contract at Barnet expired last summer. However, he remained at the club as he battled to overcome his injury.
Ultimately he was left frustrated but praised the support he received from the Bees and from the fans which used to cheer him on at Underhill.
He said: “The fans were fantastic. They have given me great backing before and during the injury and have sent me countless messages on Twitter.
“The club showed me great support as well throughout my injury so I really enjoyed my time with Barnet.”
During his rehabilitation Senda spent countless hours at Barnet’s training complex, The Hive, and has nothing but praise for the facilities.
He said: “I have been fortunate in my career to have been at some good football clubs with some good facilities but without question Barnet have the best.
“They are very lucky to have the facility. It is probably Premier League standard. That has been proved by the likes of Brazil using it.
“So it was incredibly easy for me to stay there to try to get myself back on my feet.”
Many former players have struggled to come to terms with the fact their career ended prematurely due to injury.
But Senda remains philosophical.
“The saving grace though is that I tried and I did everything I could to give myself the opportunity to get back.
“Had I not tired then maybe that would have always been with me. It would have been a case of what if? So at least I have that peace of mind.”