Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford has penned an emotional note to fans explaining how he forced himself to play through pain because of his determination to perform for his club.
The 23-year-old needed painkilling injections to help him cope with a shoulder injury which he has carried for months now, but he has now confirmed that he will miss the start of the 2021/22 season to undergo surgery and fix the issue once and for all.
The fact that Rashford continuously delayed surgery to play when he clearly wasn't fully fit left some fans frustrated, but the Englishman took to Twitter to explain exactly why he put off having the operation.
"When I was 11 years old, Manchester United helped me and my family out of a really difficult situation," he wrote. "I will always feel indebted. When the club needs me, I'll be there. Any role I can play in helping my boyhood club, I'm going to do it. Even to my detriment at times.
"Having been out of the game recovering from the double stress fracture, and having spent a lot of time away from team-mates and staff who'd been a part of my life for as long as I could remember, I needed to feel part of something again. I needed to feel like I was playing my part.
"I've read some call me selfish for holding off getting the surgery this season, but it was never about putting myself first and that's how we've reached this point, and something as a 23-year-old I've had to learn the hard way.
"To guarantee I can play this game as long as possible, I need to listen to my body. Everyone has an opinion but no-one knows my body better than me."
Rashford went on to discuss his involvement at Euro 2020, in which he played a limited role which only saw him manage 83 minutes across his five appearances.
"It's hard to describe the feeling of representing your country," he continued. "Given the choice, no-one would ever turn that down at such a big tournament. As a little boy or girl, you dream of those moments. I had been deemed fit for the full season, and given my injuries were being managed, what was another couple of weeks?
"Managing the pain, I was training well and found a lot of comfort in the England camp after the Europe League final. In hindsight, if I had known I wouldn't have played a significant role in the Euros, would I have gone? Hindsight is a wonderful thing.
"I didn't want to let anyone down but ultimately looking at my performances towards the end of last season, I felt like I was. When I step on the pitch, I always give 100%. Physically, my 100% just wasn't possible.
"I'm walking away from last season with 36 goal contributions, but more importantly, I'm walking away with lessons learnt. We live and we learn as they say, but what is never in doubt is my commitment to the club and the national team. It's been a hard one but I'm coming back physically and mentally stronger."