Lloyd James disagrees that he ‘wasn’t the same player for Leyton Orient’ after injury problems

Lloyd James in action for Leyton Orient against Bristol Rovers at the start of the 2015/16 season (p

Lloyd James in action for Leyton Orient against Bristol Rovers at the start of the 2015/16 season (pic: Simon O'Connor). - Credit: Archant

After breaking his leg in 2014 and missing three months of 2016, the 28-year-old feels back to his best again

Lloyd James has refuted claims he wasn’t the same player for Leyton Orient after two major injuries in his final two campaigns with the club.

The 28-year-old completed a move to League Two rivals Exeter City last week after being released by the O’s after four years in E10.

After learning his contract at Brisbane Road wouldn’t be extended, the ex-Southampton midfielder has been reflecting on his time in east London.

In his third season with Orient, he suffered a broken leg towards the end of September in 2014 and he didn’t return until Easter the next year.

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And after beginning the past campaign well, he missed three months with an Achilles problem, but felt back to his best after that injury.

“I’ve had two bad injuries and people like to live off the fact I wasn’t the same player when I came back,” said James.

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“But the stats show I was perhaps even better when I returned with the distance I was covering and I felt good, and it was just the team.

“We didn’t get the results so it is easy for people to say ‘since his injury he’s not been the same player’ but I think it is a load of rubbish.”

After returning from his Achilles problem, this time just before Easter 2016, James showed his undoubted quality.

He shone in a cameo appearance against Morecambe on March 19 before impressing in the 2-0 defeat to Hartlepool United nine days later.

James changed the game at York City on April 2, scoring the equaliser in O’s 1-1 draw, but fans had already been calling for him to start after making a big impact against the Shrimps.

But the midfielder explained how he felt, then player-manager, Kevin Nolan handled his return perfectly, adding: “The thing is, it takes time to get to full match fitness.

“You need time to come off the bench and start getting your rhythm. You can be as fit as you want, but match fitness is a totally different thing and it is hard to describe.

“Once you are in the game it is little things, like knowing when a man is around you so you did need to come off the bench when returning from a long-term injury - that helps you get your rhythm back.”

Nolan was the second manager James worked under last season and when the campaign finished it was up to three. Overall since September 2014, the now Exeter man has worked under seven different bosses at Orient.

He began the last campaign under Ian Hendon and although he was sacked after just six months, James believes he will go on to enjoy a good managerial career.

“I found it good working with Ian, obviously we had a good start to the season and won the first five games,” said the ex-O’s midfielder.

“We then lost one and drew one and I lost my place in the team, and on a personal note I was gutted about that.

“Some people might say it was fair and some might say it wasn’t, but if we drew one match, lost another and had won five I don’t know what I did to deserve to lose my place?

“But I did and it was Ian’s choice, but he was a good manager and I’m sure he’ll have a long career in the game when he gets back into it.”

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