Burnley boss Vincent Kompany has shared the same "dark place" as Icelander Johann Berg Gudmundsson
Vincent Kompany can envisage the "dark place" that Johann Berg Gudmundsson has been in over the past couple of years.
That's because the Burnley boss has plummeted to the same wretched destination as the nearly 32-year-old Icelander.
Repetitive thigh muscle strains, which totalled almost a year on the sidelines, appendicitis, and a subsequent calf injury on his return to training in February, have plagued the latter part of his career.
Kompany can empathise with Gudmundsson, who scored his first goal in 20 months when beating John Ruddy just four minutes after his introduction from the bench at St Andrew's in a 1-1 draw with Birmingham City.
"I'm happy for him because I know exactly where he's been," said Kompany, after Gudmundsson netted his first goal since a 3-0 win over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park. "I know how dark a place it can be for a professional with as much ability as him.
"I understand his situation because I have been in his situation as a professional. When you're on top of your game it's a different life you have, so I'm really happy for him because I can relate.
The Premier League Hall of Famer endured his own fitness complications during his time as skipper at the Etihad. The ex-defender missed around two-and-a-half years of game-time having been down with a catalogue of ailments.
Knee ligament damage, calf strains, issues with both thigh and groin, shin damage and recurring hamstring injuries marred his spell with the champions and caused an overwhelming sense of indignation and frustration.
That's why Kompany knows that Gudmundsson's goal on Wednesday evening against John Eustace's Blues will help heal those psychological scars. He said: "When you come back your first thought is that you're probably over the years, so many people have doubted him, they've written him off, and changed the way they were towards him.
"The goal is good, he'll always enjoy those, and he can score goals. Having been there, the most important thing is to be a part of the group, you learn to appreciate the small things, every day in training, contributing as he has done today and then slowly growing into the team. That's the best way to approach it.
"As long as he remains patient and he keeps ticking over those training sessions and when he gets appearances he makes it count, then a player like him will be a very, very good player and will get momentum and be an important player for us."