Wigan Athletic star 'never believed' he would make it back
Wigan Athletic star Charlie Wyke has admitted for the first time he 'never believed' he would make it back on to a football field after his cardiac arrest last year.
The striker, who turned 30 last week, collapsed during a training session at Christopher Park, with manager Leam Richardson and club doctor Jonathan Tobin saving his life before he was rushed to hospital.
After months and months of rest and recuperation - and a couple of setbacks - Wyke returned to the Latics fold at the beginning of this season.
It was the end of a long and winding road he now says he never saw reaching a happy conclusion.
"Throughout it all I kept saying I'd get back playing but I never believed I would," he said.
"After all those setbacks, I never believed I'd be back. I was probably just saying it to try and help myself through those difficult times.
"Even now, I still think am I being stupid? But then every time I message the doctor, he tells me it's all fine.
"But that's where the anxiety and the panic attacks come from, it's the fear of it happening again.
"So many things have gone through my head. My little boy was so close to losing his dad and that's so, so scary."
Wyke has also revealed he was 'devastated' when Richardson - to whom he owes his life - was sacked as Latics boss last month.
Richardson had brought him in from Sunderland a few months previous, with neither realising the lifelong bond between them that was about to be created.
"I was devastated," Wyke told the Northern Echo in a wide-ranging interview. "I thought he was a brilliant manager and he'll have a great career but obviously because of what he did for me.
"He signed me and gave me a three-year deal at Wigan. When I was coming back I wanted to get back for him as well as my family. He's a brilliant guy.
"When I got back into training for the first time I felt really awkward. I don't know why but I just wanted to thank him every day.
"At the end of the season he pulled me and said, 'I don't look at you as Charlie Wyke who had a cardiac arrest, I look at you as Charlie Wyke my number nine for next season'.
"That was unbelievable. I don't want anyone to feel sorry for me, I just want to play football.
"When my family first saw him and the doctor after what had happened, they just started crying.
"I hope I keep in touch with him forever. I don't think he realises how much he means to me and my family.
"He'll never, ever understand how much he means to me and it's the same for the doctors after what they've done for me.
Wyke has made 14 appearances for Latics this season, scoring two goals – against Cardiff and his former club Sunderland.
He is currently sidelined with a knee injury.