Middlesbrough defender Matthew Bates has vowed to recover from his latest knee operation which will sideline him for the rest of the season.
The 22-year-old utility player went under the knife to repair anterior cruciate ligament damage in his left knee on Wednesday.
He told the Middlesbrough Evening Gazette: "I know people might have read that it could be the end of my career but that's never entered my head, and the surgeons agree. They've said there's no reason I shouldn't get back to playing."
He added: "My orthopaedic surgeon has already carried out major ops on players like Didier Drogba and more recently Freddie (Andrew) Flintoff.
"It was reassuring to see someone like Freddie utilising this same surgeon's skills just before I was relying on him."
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