Fear and Football: Eduardo returns to Birmingham, where the Croatian’s career changed forever

rsenal have perhaps their most important of the remaining Premier League fixtures as they travel to St. Andrew’s to take on Birmingham City. Arsenal have nothing to fear as they travel, but a certain Gunner will have quite the fear to overcome. Highlighting the Gunners’ trip is the trepidation-filled memory of Eduardo’s horrific injury back in 2008. Arsene Wenger and the rest of the squad will be sure to react towards any rash tackle from a player in blue, especially after Aaron Ramsey’s similar injury.

Arsene Wenger has said, “Emotionally it is a weight on [Eduardo’s] mind. But Eduardo has a lot of mental strength. It’s part of a career to show that you have the mental strength to deal with this kind of situation.” Eduardo could have been forced to retire because of Martin Taylor’s bone-crushing tackle, just as Dean Ashton’s troubles had forced him to quit football with West Ham and England while still at a youthful age. Eduardo seems to still be rebounding, however, he has yet to truly and consistently play for the North London side with the class expected of the £16m striker.

Going into the weekend, I wanted to leave you guys with two ideas of fear in relation to Eduardo’s situation, and more broadly the idea of facing fear in football as a whole.

Edward Morgan Forster once said, ”I would rather be a coward than brave because people hurt you when you are brave.” Sure, if Eduardo had never been a footballer, then he never would have had his ankle demolished. And yet, the fact remains that footballers are (mostly) brave, sacrificing themselves for the greater good of the club’s status and the supporters’ happiness. Gandhi said, ”Fear has its use, but cowardice has none. I may not put my hand into the jaws of a snake, but the very sight of the snake need not strike terror into me. The trouble is that we often die many times before death overtakes us.”

In football’s case, a poor studs-up tackle is a snake bite. Fearing the potential of injury cannot stop the beautiful game from being played at its highest level, rather it is necessary that this potential for injury must be understood in order for one to really be brave. Hopefully the Birmingham fans will clap for Eduardo as he returns. After all, he will be the bravest man of the pitch.

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