Photo credit should read Geoff Caddick/AFP via Getty Images

How Nick Montgomery battled adversity to make Sheffield United history

Nick Montgomery holds a prestigious record for Sheffield United.

The former midfielder and current assistant at Australian side Central Coast Mariners has played more games for the club this century than anyone else.

Montgomery broke into the Blades first team in 2000, making his debut against Norwich City in October that year.

Neil Warnock gave the 39-year-old his chance shortly after becoming manager at Bramall Lane.

Together they earned promotion to the Premier League in 2006, but while Warnock left when the Blades were relegated that season, Montgomery remained.

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He ended his time in South Yorkshire in 2012 and made the move across the globe to Australia.

Montgomery finished up playing 356 times for United – a total that has not been matched since the turn of the century.

Paddy Kenny is in second place with 303. Current captain Billy Sharp has played 277 times.

It’s an impressive feat for Montgomery, especially considering the adversity he experienced before his career had even begun.

Nick Montgomery was told to reconsider football

Photo by Tony Feder/Getty Images

Born in Leeds, Montgomery made the move across Yorkshire to join the Blades academy.

Yet before the arrival of Warnock and his United debut, he was told he may never be a footballer.

“I had a really tough first two years of scholarship,” Montgomery told The Sheff United Way Podcast.

“The first year I broke my ankle and was out for eight months. I dislocated it and had some pins in there.

“I remember the surgeon saying, ‘maybe you need to think of doing something else now’.

“Second year I got back playing and felt really sick. I rang the club doctor and said, ‘I have the worst headache ever’. From that I ended up in an ambulance and at Sheffield Hospital for two weeks with meningitis.

“It was a pretty tough two years when you have two years to make it or break it in terms of developing into the first team.

“I recovered from that, got back back playing. Neil Warnock came in, didn’t know anything about what I’d been through the previous two years, but instantly you could see he wanted people who were committed to the club. Had heart, desire and wanted to play for the club.

“I scored a hat-trick for the reserves at Stockport, had a phone call that night and next day I was with the first team.”

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