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Alan Smith opens up about that injury at Anfield and the sport he turned to after football

Alan Smith made the big decision to hang up his boots last year and is now moving on with his life.

Smith joined the Reds in 2004 from Leeds and was then the man expected to take over from Roy Keane and finally he finished his career in the lower leagues.

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People will remember the hideous injury he suffered an Anfield when a number of Liverpool fans decided it was a good idea to attack the ambulance containing Smith, as per The Guardian.

After that, his time at Old Trafford never quite got back on track and he ended up at Newcastle before joining MK Don and Notts County, eventually retiring at the end of last season.

But now Smith leads a very different life and The Mirror has revealed he now lives in Florida, coaching kids to play football and learning how to surf in his spare time.

Speaking about the injury, Smith said: “I knew with the injury it would be touch and go whether I could carry on playing – the surgeon said that.

“It would have been easier to walk away and people remember you as a top Premier League player. But I didn’t want that, because I loved playing football. Your love of it makes you go through the pain barrier.”

He argues the injury made him a better person, perhaps more understanding of the game.

“The injury made me a better person after doing so well so young.

“I learnt at any time, football can be over. I am lucky through sheer grit and determination I carried on playing.”

Smith then compared himself to a supporter in the stands during the early stages of his career and how that shaped him as a footballer. He also looks at another injury, to the same ankle, that was arguably worse.

“My game was simple, I used to play whole-heartedly, like a supporter who was sat in the stands would want to play.

“Arguably, from that day at Liverpool onwards people don’t see the best of you. Adrenaline gets you through for a certain amount of time but you soon realise, ‘The stuff I used to do, I can’t do.’

“I knew I wouldn’t be the same again. I was never as good in that new position as I was as a forward. But I became a better footballer and learnt about the game.

“In the Tyne-Wear derby against Sunderland in 2011 it was the second time I injured my left ankle. Arguably that was worse because I had all the metalwork in it from previously and that got distorted and messed up.

“But after both the injuries I came back and helped my team win trophies. Winning the Premier League is a massive thing for anyone which United did in 2007 before I left.”

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