The horror drop-ball injury which preceded football law change, but Portsmouth man refuses to blame ex-Northampton, Watford and Bristol Rovers midfielder

The Laws of the Game were amended in June 2019, sadly too late to save Danny Rose.

Friday, 10th June 2022, 9:00 am
Updated Friday, 10th June 2022, 11:14 am

It can never be established whether a leg break sustained against Northampton influenced the changing of the drop-ball procedure.

Nonetheless, a freak accident at the hands of John-Joe O’Toole in December 2017 put him out of the game for six months.

The drop-ball between the former Cobblers team-mates resulted in a clean break of the Pompey man’s tibia – and he would make just one further league appearance for the club.

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Some 18 months later, it was decreed drop-balls would no longer be contested. Referees are now instructed to present it to the team who last touched it.

As for Rose, he is adamant O’Toole is free from blame.

He told The News: ‘It was so surreal. I don’t think it's naive wanting to go into a drop-ball, at the time it was part of the game.

‘Win possession, spark an attack, you can have an edge on your opponent in the heat of the battle.

Danny Rose was hospitalised after breaking his leg in a drop-ball against Northampton in December 2017

‘There is no blame on John-Joe O’Toole, none at all. It was just as much my fault as his because it was a drop-ball.

‘Obviously the rules have changed subsequently, not directly because of what happened to me, the game evolves and it’s something which needed to change anyway.

‘But no blame on him. We played together at Northampton for half a season, alongside each other in midfield for 15 games as we won the League Two title, I got to know him pretty well.

‘John-Joe tried to contact me that evening, it wasn’t until the next day when I’d had surgery that I managed to speak to him.

Danny Rose receives treatment after breaking his leg against Northampton in December 2017. Picture: Joe Pepler

Marc Richards, who was Northampton captain, got in touch and told me John-Joe was attempting to get in touch, so I spoke to him. I told him it wasn’t his fault

‘I went in hard with my inside foot – and he’d gone in hard too. He actually won the ball, kicked it and the follow through caught my follow through.

‘Injury could have happened to him. Could I have gone in a different way and not exposed my whole leg? Probably. I don’t know.

‘I didn’t think I broke my leg at the time, but watch it back and listen, there’s a noise, which was a break on the side of my shin.

Danny Rose made 64 appearances and scored five goals during his time at Fratton Park. Picture: Joe Pepler.

‘My wife reminds me all the time about how we had a conversation about me being lucky that, approaching 30, I’d had no injuries, just bumps and bruises.

‘Then that happened a couple of months later.’

Barely three months after his injury, Rose was handed a one-year Pompey contract extension until the summer of 2019.

Rose added: ‘It never occurred to me that I might not play again, not for one minute did I think it was career-threatening.

‘I don’t know why, I was more concerned with the here and now I suppose, the current season, being in good form, at the time being in contract talks.

‘Thankfully I did come back – and am still playing.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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