Woody over 'complete nightmare'
The 31-year-old central defender played alongside Rio Ferdinand for Leeds in the early noughties as they reached a Champions League semi-final. Yet, while Ferdinand has blossomed into one of the games most cultured and decorated footballers, captaining both Manchester United and England in the process, Woodgate has been beset by injuries, which have seen him play just four games in two seasons at Tottenham, where he has been out since November after rupturing a ligament near his pelvis. "The whole pelvic area became unstable, causing plenty of problems," he told the Sunday Express. "I underwent a number of operations but even then there were constant niggles, meaning I couldn't have a run of games. "It was a complete nightmare you do wonder whether you are ever going to play again." Fabio Capello is known to be aware of Woodgate's innate talents but his never ending injury problems crushed any dreams of earning an international call-up under the Italian. He feared might never ever play again as his contract at Spurs expired this summer. But Stoke boss Tony Pulis has opted to recruit the former England international on a pay-as-you-deal. "The medical team at Spurs decided to take me to see a pelvic surgeon," he added. "He told me he would have to insert a metal plate, but if he did that there was every chance I wouldn't be able to play football at the top again. "It suddenly dawns on you that it could all be over. I didn't want that, so I decided to do down a different route of managing the injury. Hopefully that has worked."