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'Doctors can't say if it's linked. Because of the injury and the stress'

Ireland Under-21 international Will Smallbone opens up on suffering from alopecia while also battling back from an anterior cruciate knee ligament injury.

Ireland and Southampton star Will Smallbone.
Ireland and Southampton star Will Smallbone.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

WILL SMALLBONE HAS opened up on suffering from alopecia while also battling back from an anterior cruciate knee ligament injury.

The Republic of Ireland Under-21 international was a breakthrough star for Southampton in the Premier League during 2020, but has been faced with two different challenges over the last 12 month.

As well as recently returning to first team action for the Saints after suffering the ACL injury in January, the central midfielder also lined out for the Ireland Under-21s in their European Championship qualifiers with Italy and Sweden last month.

He is still working towards getting another taste of Premier League action but Smallbone explained to Southampton official club app how his experience with alopecia has helped him deal with different challenges.

“It’s is something I’ve had to deal with alongside my injury,” he said. “I first had a really small patch of hair missing – no one would ever really notice.

“It was the Leicester game, where in a few photos you could see a bigger patch appearing. Now it’s actually growing back… but to lose it all is very tough.

“Alongside such a big injury, it probably couldn’t have happened at a worse time for me personally, to have both of these things going on.

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“The doctors can’t say if they are linked. Because of the injury and the stress of being out for so long, they can’t say if that caused it, but the timings line up. It would make sense for them to coincide,” Smallbone added, explaining how the condition developed.

“Mine was a gradual, steady increase of how bad it was. It started off as a really small patch of hair I was missing, which slowly grew and then eventually just started falling out from all sides. The doctor’s advice was just to shave it because eventually it was going to get to that anyway.

“But at the end of the day, it’s just hair. I suppose I’m in a situation where I’m playing on TV, and there’s kids watching who may have to deal with the same thing – it’s to show that it isn’t the end of the world.

“Sometimes, in life, you have to get on with difficult things that are thrown at you.”

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