Home Football Greenlight: Jayson Molumby On Injury Hell & Captaining Kenny’s Kids

Greenlight: Jayson Molumby On Injury Hell & Captaining Kenny’s Kids

“Every little goal I set myself or the physios set and wanted me to try and push towards kept backfiring really, it’s very disheartening.”

It is often said that the mental side of a serious injury is more taxing on the body than the physical side. The slow and arduous road, paved with lingering doubts. “Will I be the same when I return? What if it happens again? Am I coming back too early?”

For Brighton’s Jayson Molumby, the last 15 months have tested him, both physically and mentally.

At 18 years of age, the Waterford born midfielder was just finding himself on the verge of breaking into the first team at the Amex Stadium when he suffered the first major blow of his young career.

“I just felt I was starting to kick on in my career,” he told Pundit Arena.

“I had just turned 18 and played two games with the first team. I was on the bench in the Premier League and I felt like things were going to start happening for me quite quickly and then I got a knee injury.

“I was out for six months with that. I came back but I didn’t get an operation the first time around because I was young they said I had a good chance of my body healing by itself. I came back and all the testing and work I did with the physios was fine.”

Six months. It was difficult but not disastrous for Molumby. Having not undergone surgery the 19-year-old returned to the training field. After just three sessions though, his worst fears were realised.

“I think it was my third session back, it was just something I couldn’t control because my kneecap wasn’t stable enough it just dislocated and that was that really.

“I needed to get MPFL replacement which was a donor hamstring put into my knee to stabilise my kneecap so that’s what I had done. I was another eight months out with that so all together I was 15 months out.”

Fifteen months. It was never the pain of the injury itself, explained Molumby, it was seeing every little goal he set himself in recovery, consistently slip through his fingers.

As an 18-year old just finding his feet in that game, that must have been so tough?

“Yeah, there were a lot of bumps in the road to be fair.

“I was always aiming for different things. The Elite stage of the U19s European Qualifiers that was my aim to get back for that and it didn’t happen, then summer and pre-season, that didn’t happen.

“Every little goal I set myself or the physios set and wanted me to try and push towards kept backfiring really, it’s very disheartening.”

2019, however, has seen a steady upturn in Molumby’s fortunes. Back fit and firing – “I’ve come back just as good really,”- the midfielder found himself immediately back in Chris Hughton’s plans at Brighton.

The Seagulls’ boss had singled Molumby out for praise following his full debut against Barnet in August of 2017 and clearly still had faith in the Cappoquin native as he named him on the bench for Brighton’s FA Cup clash with Derby in February.

A huge boost for the 19-year old.

“I played my first 45 minutes against Man City the day before and got told ‘the gaffer wants you in for the Derby game you might be involved.’

“I was thinking I’d be behind the dugout as a spare man, he did his pre-match meeting and told me I was on the bench so I was buzzing with it. I think it was more so the gaffer kind of saying ‘look we haven’t forgotten about you so that was quite nice yeah.”

On top of that, Molumby was selected in Stephen Kenny’s first Irish U21’s squad for their game against Luxembourg and was subsequently chosen to captain the side.

Leadership is nothing new to him. The 19-year old has previously captained Brighton’s U23s as well as his country at both U17s and U19s level.

Molumby outlined that he was “buzzing” when Kenny broke the news to him but admitted that upon his call-up to the 21s he was secretly hoping he’d be the one selected to lead the team.

“It was a few days before the game. Secretly I was hoping I’d be (captain) because I was captain of the U19s and the U17s so I was kind of thinking that’s what I would have wanted but coming back from injury I was just delighted to be in Stephen’s thoughts and in the squad.

“I was absolutely buzzing, he called me and he said ‘how would you feel about captaining the side?’ so I was absolutely buzzing, it was unbelievable.”

Under Kenny, Ireland have gotten off to a tremendous start in their European Championship qualifying group, with the result and the style of play against Luxembourg catching the eye of many.

In the win, Molumby clearly impressed Kenny. “What about that, he was brilliant, wasn’t he?” roared the former Dundalk boss as his captain made his way off the field to rapturous applause at Tallaght Stadium.

So what’s it like working with him?

“Yeah, it unbelievable really,” said Molumby.

“It’s always hard when a new group comes in, there’s a change of manager, style of play and stuff so we weren’t really used to one another in that regard so I thought we played really well.

“I know it was Luxembourg but any game with a new manager is hard so I think we did really well.

“I’m buzzing with him, all the boys are buzzing with him too. He just gives you confidence. He came in straight away and the first thing he said is he wants us to play free and he wants us to express ourselves and as a player, you’re buzzing with that.

“You don’t have one real role or one thing he needs you to do so I think we were all really delighted and took to him really well because of that.”

A dynamic midfielder by trade, Molumby thrives in an “express yourself” sort of environment. The way Brighton play the game was a big factor in his move from Railway Athletic in 2015.

Molumby had offers from Bournemouth, West Brom and Celtic at the time but opted for the Amex, a decision he still feels was the correct one.

After 15 months on the shelf the loyalty and help the club showed to him was a massive boost in what was such a trying time.

He outlined that in his head the thought of being forgotten about was there, but Brighton and Chris Hughton always reassured him otherwise.

“In my own head, it was there (the thought of being forgotten about),” he explained.

“The club would always reassure me so I’d always have doubts but the club were brilliant with me, the gaffer as well just always reassuring me saying ‘nothing has changed you’ve still done what you’ve done, we still think highly of you’ they kept faith and confidence in me.”

With the season coming to a close, Molumby is looking forward to getting a full pre-season under his belt and pushing on at club level, with a first-team opportunity, he hopes, on the horizon.

At international level, the focus will be on June’s upcoming Toulon Tournament, before September’s next European Qualifier against Armenia.

As a crucial point in his career beckons, Molumby recognises how far he has come and how long it has truly taken to get here.

Does the injury still play in the back of his mind? Sure it does, but as he put it “you just get over it and get on with it.”

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About Oisin McQueirns

Oisin McQueirns is a digital journalist at Pundit Arena. Massive fan of Leeds United, Ric Flair and Trusting The Process. Contact him here oisin@punditarena.com