England star David Willey outlines remarkable comeback from career-threatening injury

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England star David Willey has represented his country a total of 83 times in white ball cricket, recently becoming the 58th player to earn 50 ODI caps.

Willey also captains Yorkshire in the T20 Blast, having firmly cemented himself as one of England's leading short-form cricketers.

However, things could have been so different for the 31-year-old, who has had to battle back from a number of setbacks, including a potentially career-ending injury.

Willey first made his name at Northamptonshire, following in the footsteps of his father Peter, who spent the majority of his career there.

In a video produced by Vertu Motors, Willey said: "My Dad played cricket for England and for me to pull on that shirt was pretty special.

"You play in your garden as a kid and [then you're] playing in World Cups for your country. To do that for as many games as I have, I'm honoured and proud of what I've achieved."

David Willey has made more than 80 appearances for England across ODI and T20I cricket
(Image: Stu Forster/Getty Images)

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As a left-arm quick capable of swinging the ball and an aggressive, ball-striker at the top of the order, Willey excelled for Northamptonshire in the shorter formats and was key to their 2013 T20 Cup triumph.

However, a stress fracture in his back was discovered the following season, ruling him out of action for a large part of the campaign.

The following year, Willey also spent time out with a shoulder problem he later told the Guardian was "related to [the] stress problem in my lower back".

The all-rounder soldiered on, earning that first England cap in 2015 and also agreeing to join Yorkshire for the 2016 season.

Willey also captains Yorkshire in the T20 Blast
(Image: Stu Forster/Getty Images)

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However, Willey suffered further injury problems at Yorkshire, including several issues with his shoulder.

Opening up about his struggles, Willey added: "The way I play my cricket, everything is done at 100mph.

"I was never the most talented or gifted but I have always had to work hard. I have had to really work on my skills to play at the highest level.

"I had suspicions that I had a bit of a back problem. [Scans] revealed a 50% stress fracture in my lower back.

Willey has made "subtle" changes to his action over the years to get back to full fitness
(Image: Visionhaus/Getty Images)

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"Working with the physio, S&C (strength and conditioning) and bowling coach not only gives me reassurance, but it's also there in front of me that I'm heading in the right direction."

There were concerns that the injury could lead to the end of Willey's career but his work with Yorkshire's backroom staff has led to "subtle" changes which have helped him get back to full fitness.

Yorkshire's lead physio Kunwar Bansil explained: "The first thing is looking at the injury itself, that requires some investigations in terms of clinical assessments and MRI scans and then we can put the appropriate plan in place.

"It's a case of looking at what you need from a treatment side, the physical side in both recovery and rehabilitation and what's required from a technical side and how we can get those to marry up.

David Willey has outlined his journey back from a career-threatening injury in a video with Vertu Motors
(Image: YouTube/Vertu Motors)

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"We needed to improve the mobility in the shoulder, his strength around the spine and trunk and look at the mechanical adjustments needed."

Richard Pyrah, Yorkshire's bowling coach, added: "We have to go into a lot of detail and really slow it down. We found an area where we could really work on his technique.

"To the naked eye, his action wouldn't look too much different when he's releasing the ball, but there's quite little subtle differences which affect the position of his back."

"It is everyone coming together, including myself, to make sure I am ticking the right boxes," Willey added. "The little things can make a big difference when they all come together."

Willey’s story is the first video in a series to be released by Yorkshire County Cricket Club partner Vertu Motors, entitled ‘It’s All in the Detail’, which highlight the marginal gains of sport and share exclusive details not always aired to the public.

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