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Wales star set for emotional return with Luton after heart surgery

10 Aug 2023 3 minute read
Luton Town’s Tom Lockyer leaves the pitch on a stretcher. Photo Adam Davy PA Images

Luton skipper Tom Lockyer took inspiration from Christian Eriksen as he fought his way back from a heart scare to stand on the brink of fulfilling his Premier League dream.

The Wales defender fell to the turf during the Hatters’ Sky Bet Championship play-off final victory over Coventry in May and later underwent surgery at the Cleveland Clinic in London to address an atrial fibrillation.

However, his fears were soon allayed by cardiologist Sanjay Shah who said his issue was less serious than that which caused now Manchester United midfielder Eriksen to collapse during Denmark’s Euro 2020 clash with Finland in Copenhagen.

Good spirits

Lockyer told the BBC: “Professor Sanjay Shah was incredible. As soon as I spoke to him, he said that Eriksen’s was worse and he’s back, so straight away I was in good spirits.

“I didn’t think it was a doubt about coming back to play, but it was whether I’d be the same player. Touch wood, it all seems good so far and I’ve still got electric pace.

“There’s nothing more going forward. I had a little operation at the time. As heart operations go I hear it’s the most routine one. I’m not worried.”

Tom Lockyer and his family celebrating Luton’s Playoff final win from his hospital bed

Lockyer and his team-mates will launch the club’s first Premier League campaign at Brighton on Saturday on what is likely to be an emotional day for his family.

He said: “I know my mum is a little bit more sensitive than I am and she doesn’t like being reminded of anything like that. It might be nice for her to see me back.”

Luton have been tipped by many to make an instant return to the second tier after a journey which has brought them from non-league football to the big-time inside a decade, but Lockyer remains relaxed about that too.

He said: “It’s going to be a rollercoaster. Every league I’ve been in, non-league to Championship, has been a rollercoaster, it’s never plain sailing.

“There are going to be ups and downs but it’s about the journey and enjoying it. What better place to enjoy it than the Premier League?”

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