Emotional debut at last for Tombides
Back in May 2011, Aussie striker Dylan Tombides seemed to have the world at his feet, but then his world fell apart.
Back in May 2011, Aussie striker Dylan Tombides seemed to have the world at his feet.
Included in the West Ham squad for the final Premier League game of the season, he then went off to Mexico to compete in the under-17 World Cup for Australia.
But then his world fell apart. Diagnosed with testicular cancer the 18-year-old has been fighting the disease ever since.
And on Tuesday night came another significant step on the road to recovery when the youngster finally made his West Ham debut in the Capital One Cup clash with Wigan Athletic.
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It doesn’t matter that it was only a few minutes; it doesn’t matter that the team lost 4-1; what was important was that he was there.
“It is just good to be back in contention more than anything,” said Tombides, whose younger brother Taylor has broken into the Academy team this season.
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“The 15 or 16 months that I have had away from football are unexplainable, it it something that no footballer should have to go through.”
It has been a long road back full of operations and endless bouts of chemotherapy and Tombides is quick to praise the help he has received along the way.
“Academy physio John Irwin has been fantastic all the way through the 15 months,” said the Aussie.
“He has been to every oncology meeting I have had with the doctors regarding treatment, so he’s been fantastic and my Mum, she will support me no matter what and will always be by my side.”
One slight disappointment was that Dylan’s father Jim and brother were unable to see him make his debut.
“I have to give a special mention to my dad and my brother,” he said.
“Due to my brother’s international commitments he is away in Iran so I’d like to wish him good luck and my dad is out there supporting him.”
Hopefully there will be many more chances for them to see him in action.