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Toon utility man hopes winger makes a full recovery...

Newcastle United's Alan Smith has conceded that he is not been the same footballer since a serious injury sustained over four years ago.

The recent injury sustained by Luis Antonio Valencia proved to be the catalyst that cause the former England international to recall his own battle with injury. At the time, Smith broke his leg and dislocated his ankle while trying to block a free kick from John Arne Riise, during a game against Liverpool in the FA Cup.

The ex-Leeds United man spent a significant amount of time on the sidelines following the injury, and now admits that he has never been the same following his comeback - but hopes Valencia doesn't suffer similar problems.

"I’ve not been the same player since my injury. [Arsenal striker] Eduardo had the same injury and he struggled so much and the thing is you’ve got to make the best of it," said Smith, according to the Daily Mail.

"I’ve changed my position and I’m still trying to learn that and it's good for me, it's interesting.

"Every game and every week is definitely a bonus because it would have been so easy to pack it in or not fight hard enough to get back in and so easy to let your standards drop.

"It takes hours of work, hopefully Antonio Valencia will be able to get back to the level that he was at before. I know it will be very difficult but I’d like to wish him all the best."

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