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    08 June 2023

    Midfielder’s journey with alopecia shows strength and determination, says coach

    Republic of Ireland midfielder Will Smallbone shows strength in adversity

    In a world where sports stars are often defined by their talent and success, Southampton’s Will Smallbone has shown that true strength lies in the face of adversity. The 23-year-old midfielder was diagnosed with alopecia – a condition causing hair loss on the body – while recovering from a knee injury earlier this year.

    “The stuff that’s happened to me over the last few years, I wouldn’t wish upon anyone,” said Smallbone. “But I’ve shown resilience and character to know that I can take on anything thrown my way.”

    Rising through the ranks at Southampton

    Smallbone came through Southampton’s academy and made his Premier League debut for the club in February 2020. He quickly became a regular starter before suffering an ACL injury just one year later.

    After recovering from his injury, he spent last season on loan at Stoke City in England’s Championship league. However, he is set to return to St Mary’s Stadium after international break.

    Ambitious about future prospects

    “Next season is very important for me to carry on playing football,” emphasised Smallbone when asked about his plans for next season with Southampton.

    The dream of International Football comes true

    The Irish national team recognised his potential early and called him up to play against Latvia back in March 2021. It marked his senior debut as well as being awarded man-of-the-match honours during this game held at Dublin’s Aviva stadium.

    “It has always been a dream of mine to get through to the senior international stage,” says Smallbone. “To have that match in March was fantastic for me. I feel ready now to push on and hopefully play a big part in the campaign.”

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