The on-loan Tottenham midfielder has arguably been Portsmouth’s best player in what has been a difficult season for the club. His attitude for a loan player has been first class, as like so few loan players today he actually cares for the team he represents. This was evidenced several times when he constantly referred to Portsmouth as ‘we’ when they played his parent club Spurs in the FA Cup semi-final last month.
But the 23-year-old has had to have a series of injections in recent weeks to help him through his injury, the latest coming on Sunday when he came on as a half-time substitute against Burnley. Despite the injections he felt pain after just 10 minutes but still went on to complete the game, further showing his commitment to Portsmouth. However it must be remembered that he is first and foremost a Tottenham player and as they pay his wages they should get a say on as to whether he can take part in the final. They have seemingly given the OK for Portsmouth to keep supplying O’Hara with this course of injections, of which he will have another one today and then manager, Avram Grant will make a decision on his fitness later on in the week.
O’Hara has said on his injury: “I have got two fractures on the lower part of my spine and if it was any other time of the season it is eight weeks out. After the cup final I will be out for a couple of months; it will just be rest because it is a stress fracture. Spurs are looking at it as a longer-term thing and I am going to miss some of pre-season. Speaking to the doctors, it can be a serious one. If you keep playing on it and it does completely crack, you could be looking at a year out. So I have got to be careful but with the injections, the doctors said one more game is not going to cause a long-term problem.”
The midfielder went on to say: “I will have a sit-down with the manager and see. I might just have to play the last half hour and see how it goes. If it’s going to put me out for six months, while it’s great playing at Wembley, I don’t want to kill myself long-term.”
He added: “I would love to play but it has come to the point now where I am really struggling and I can’t do anything, which is the most frustrating thing. I can get around but it is not how you want to be going into a cup final. It’s such a massive game and I would not want to jeopardise the team by going out there half-fit.”
With the player stating that he should be out for eight weeks then surely Tottenham should step in and refuse him permission to play. O’Hara is a good prospect for the future and could well be an important player at White Hart Lane next season. The last thing the club should want his for him to pick up an injury in a game where he won’t be able to give his best anyway. Also the club need to act for the good of his long-term health, if he were to land awkwardly on his back then who knows what kind of damage that could do to him. At 23, and with the talent he possesses he is going to get another chance to play in a cup final in his career.
Although it will be a blow for Portsmouth to lose him, if Tottenham decide that they don’t want him to be involved then it will be the right decision.