'It was a hard time, but I'm happy to be back'

Thursday 03 Sep 2015
Arsenal and England U19s defender Tafari Moore
When England’s Mr Positive says he was in a "dark place" then you know things were tough.

Arsenal full-back Tafari Moore was nearing a comeback from months on the sideline when he was told that the injury had not healed and he would be forced to sit out even longer.

But the man who loves nothing more than to entertain his team-mates with a song or two refused to be beaten. And he capped a remarkable comeback by winning a place in Aidy Boothroyd’s Under-19s squad for the upcoming games against Germany and Croatia.

England U19s' Euro trip

Germany v England
Friday 4 September 2015
BELKAW Arena, Bergisch Gladbach

Croatia v England
Monday 7 September 2015
Sveti Josip Radnik Stadion, Zagreb

“It was a bad time – actually it was the worst,” the 18-year-old told TheFA.com. 

“Altogether I was out for seven months. Firstly I was out for three after tearing a ligament in my hip, but then in the last week just before I was about to come back I found out it had gotten worse so I was out for another three.

“I was in a dark place at that time, but I had to get through it. I had the right people around me and the coaches at my club kept encouraging me. Now I’m here today.”

Moore was a member of the U17s squad that lifted the European Championship last year and was also included in Neil Dewsnip’s first England squad of the last campaign as the group moved up to U18s level.

Things were going well as he progressed through the ranks at his club level and was appearing for the Gunners’ U21s side. Then injury struck.

Instead of allowing it to eat him up, the success of his international team-mates actually provided Moore with the inspiration to get himself back in the mix.

“Being out and seeing the boys go off to England and seeing some of the players make their debuts for the first team, that was something that allowed me to focus and make sure I was doing the right things to come back and start the season on fire.

“That’s what I did and I think I’ve been doing well at my club and that’s led to me being back in the squad, so I couldn’t be happier.”

Tafari Moore

Tafari Moore's last cap came against Holland a year ago

And the defender celebrated his call-up in typical style with his almost trademark smile beaming.

“I was sat in the changing room at Arsenal. We were all just talking and my physio came in and said, ‘Taf, you’ve been picked for the U19s?’ I was just sat there like ‘What?’

“I started screaming and ran to Chrissy Willock and Kaylen Hinds jumping all over them and shouting ‘I’m in the squad, I’m in the squad’.

“I was over the moon!”

Moore and his team-mates are in Germany ahead of their clash in Bergisch Gladbach. They then travel to Zagreb to face Croatia on Monday.

“I want to show all the lads as well as the coaches what I can do,” added Moore.

“They haven’t seen me play in a long time. I want to try and bring something different to the team.

“I’ll be trying my hardest to impress.”

By Gary Stonehouse Staff Writer