WHEN it comes to experiences in football, Charlie Daniels must have considered himself fairly well-versed.

From coming through at a Premier League academy with Tottenham and earning a pro contract to having to drop down into League One to kick-start his career before playing his part in Cherries’ fairytale rise into the top tier, it has been quite the ride for the left-back.

But April this year delivered a first for Daniels as the 32-year-old went under the knife to repair a partial dislocation of his kneecap.

The defender, who joined Cherries from Leyton Orient in 2011, had missed only 12 of 160 league matches between the beginning of the 2014-15 campaign and the start of last season.

But injury cut his 2018-19 short and he is also set to miss the opening weeks of the upcoming Premier League as rehab continues.

Reliving the moment his season ended, Daniels told the Daily Echo: “It was on the training pitch.

“It sounds worse than what actually happened. It (the kneecap) just popped in and out really.

“I was crossing at the time and went to see the surgeon the next day. That’s where I had a scan and I had to go and see the surgeon the next day, on Thursday it was, and ended up having the op that day.

“The best thing that could happen was to get it done as quick as possible really so I could start the rehab.”

Asked how this injury compares with others he has suffered during his 14-year professional career, Daniels added: “This is the worst one.

“This was the first time I’ve ever been operated on, so it’s not been too bad.

“You see so many footballers have had so many operations and injuries, it’s what happens in the sport.

“I’ve been fortunate that I’ve gone this long without having the need to have an op, so I’m fortunate in that sense.”

Given his lack of time on the sidelines over the years, the logistical complications that come through being injured were arguably harder for Daniels to adjust to than not being on the pitch.

He said: “My wife especially was really helpful.

“I was on crutches, I was in a knee brace, I had to keep my leg straight for two weeks and I found that tough.

“But my wife and my family really helped me, especially through the first couple of weeks.”

Dealing with the mental side of an injury is often a bigger hurdle to overcome than the gruelling physical effort required to reach top condition again.

But Daniels insists he has not doubted his ability to return to his best again.

“I never had that mindset,” he said.

“My mindset was always that I would probably come back stronger than I was before. That was the same with the surgeon and the physios and with the way rehab is going, my markers are actually stronger than I was before I got the injury.

“So in terms of that sense, it was a no-brainer.”

He added: “I don’t even know what month we’re on, I’m just taking it day by day in terms of running.

“I saw the surgeon at the start of this month. We’ve got the all clear now, so we’ve started ramping it up. I’ve given myself a timeframe to get back fit and return to play.

“I’ve started running outside. It’s progressing well and everything is going really well.”

Daniels has not been the only man in the Cherries physio room in recent months.

Simon Francis and Lewis Cook are both recovering from their own long-term knee problems while Adam Smith, Junior Stanislas, Andrew Surman and Dan Gosling are all among those who have spent time in the treatment room since Daniels suffered his injury.

Asked if time spent together in rehab brings some players closer together, the Cherries left-back said: “Yeah, it does. It’s been quite big figures actually that have been injured in terms of people who have been here quite a long time.

“We bounce off each other a lot and we know we’re going to get through it and come back stronger and make the squad a lot stronger as well.”