Tai Sodje says his dramatic sudden impact from the bench in scoring a late goal to earn City’s EDS a 2-2 draw with Sunderland on Monday was the perfect way to exorcise six months of injury frustration.

Having started the season in great form with our Under-21s, the 20-year-old was then suddenly laid low by a series of hamstring problems.

It has been a long, lonely wait to return – but summoned from the bench by Brian Barry-Murphy with 17 minutes left and City 2-1 down to the Black Cats, Sodje made an instant impact at the Joie Stadium, drilling home a superb low finish barely a minute after coming on.

The goal secured a deserved point for the City Under-21s – and it meant the world to the striker.

“It’s obviously it’s been a while since I’ve been injured but there’s no better way to come back and score a goal with like my first like two or three touches,” Tai reflected.

“The message from Brian was just make an impact. I’m going try to take what he says onto the pitch and do my best and I was buzzing to be honest.

“It’s been hard at times. Seeing the boys playing games, it’s always hard to miss the matches.

“So it’s been really tough.

KEY CALL: Sodje was summoned on by head coach Brian Barry-Murphy
KEY CALL: Sodje was summoned on by head coach Brian Barry-Murphy

“I started the season really well, scored a few goals in the first few games and then it was just horrible to get injured, but I’m back now and hopefully I can keep scoring for the rest of the season.

“In terms of the injuries, I think it has just been my body adapting to different things, like growing, getting older, just getting bigger and stronger…that kind of stuff. So hopefully all the injuries are behind me now.

“And when you know you’re back in the squad and able to play a certain amount of minutes it just puts a smile on your face.”

Having been sidelined for such a lengthy spell of time Sodje says he also returned armed with an even greater appreciation for the game.

What’s more he believes he also returned as a better person for all the challenges he has had to navigate along the way.

“You find like a new love for the game, as you can take it for granted,” Sodje added.


“Obviously, when you are fit every week and playing games and then when you’re suddenly missing it, it’s really hard.

“Mentally it’s quite tough, so as soon as you’re back out there, you have just got to make the most of it. 

“You just learn so much about yourself at the time as well.

“I always try to find the positives, like just working on something that you can do off the pitch.

“So you come back with a different mentality, definitely.”