Reconditioning expert Bill Knowles is the man who rescued Callum Wilson’s career as he earns first England call-up

ON THE day Callum Wilson’s second child was born, the newly selected England striker was 3,500 miles away in Philadelphia.

Bournemouth’s prolific front man had suffered his second cruciate knee ligament injury in 16 months and had flown out to the States to see reconditioning specialist Bill Knowles.

Reconditioning expert Bill Knowles is the man who rescued Callum Wilson’s career as he earns first England call-up10 Bill Knowles, centre, with Callum Wilson at the gym in Philadelphia

The renowned expert has worked with John Terry, Frank Lampard, Danny Welbeck, Tiger Woods and is currently helping Andy Murray return to fitness.

Wilson is one of Knowles’ biggest success stories as the 26-year-old, chosen by Gareth Southgate for the squad to face USA and Croatia, returned with a hat-trick in his first game back.

Knowles, 53, told SunSport: “In Callum’s case, I could provide a very concierge one-v-one camp for five hours a day of training.

“But we do lots of different things that he hasn’t seen before. That’s why Callum thought it was fun.

Reconditioning expert Bill Knowles is the man who rescued Callum Wilson’s career as he earns first England call-upReuters10 Wilson earned his first-ever call up to the Three Lions squad this week
Reconditioning expert Bill Knowles is the man who rescued Callum Wilson’s career as he earns first England call-upGetty – Contributor10 Knowles helped Wilson recover after two ACL injuries in 16 months

“With Callum you have an athlete coming back from a knee injury and what’s important is that he comes and spends a week or two here and we build off what the club has done.

“He can make connections as to how we can improve his performance as an athlete, not with the ball but without the ball.”

Knowles doesn’t define his role as working in rehabilitation but rather reconditioning.

“Often we see situations where guys come back from a long-term injury and quickly re-injure,” the certified athletics trainer said.

Reconditioning expert Bill Knowles is the man who rescued Callum Wilson’s career as he earns first England call-up10 Knowles speaks about reconditioning rather than rehab
Reconditioning expert Bill Knowles is the man who rescued Callum Wilson’s career as he earns first England call-up10 Wilson spent two weeks with him to get back to fitness
Reconditioning expert Bill Knowles is the man who rescued Callum Wilson’s career as he earns first England call-up10 Wilson scored a hat-trick in his first game back for Bournemouth

“Or we see with many cases they come back from an ACL injury and then do the opposite knee.”

That was what happened to Wilson.

In February last year, the Bournemouth man ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament of his left knee, having done the right in September 2015.

Of Knowles, Wilson said: “When I had my second injury, he was the guy I went to to get me back into the running phase. We did a lot of sprint work and spent two weeks with him.

“I actually missed the birth of my second child being out there, so that shows the sacrifice I made to get to this point.”

Reconditioning expert Bill Knowles is the man who rescued Callum Wilson’s career as he earns first England call-up10 Knowles has been working with Andy Murray recently
Reconditioning expert Bill Knowles is the man who rescued Callum Wilson’s career as he earns first England call-up10 Danny Welbeck has spent time with Knowles at HP Sport

Knowles’ ethos when Wilson arrived was to focus on the whole body rather than zone in on the injured area.

“When I look at an injured athlete, I see an opportunity to prepare them for the demands of the sport they’re going to get back to more than I see the opportunity to protect a healing structure,” he said.

“A protection mindset often underestimates the true demands of what the body needs to do when it returns to team training or to sport.

“That’s compared to the preparation mindset which protects the injury but really holds dear the face that you’ve got to get training into this guy in order to sustain the ability when they return.

Reconditioning expert Bill Knowles is the man who rescued Callum Wilson’s career as he earns first England call-upGetty Images – Getty10 Wilson scored a hat-trick on his first game back after working with Knowles
Reconditioning expert Bill Knowles is the man who rescued Callum Wilson’s career as he earns first England call-upRex Features10 Wilson could win his first England cap tonight as Three Lions face USA

“The injury really doesn’t matter, it’s the movement you need to do that matters. When we look at this preparation mindset, we’re trying to retore what I call athletic normal.

“That’s the place where you’re normal before the injury: the ability to bend, squat, land, jump, run, skip, fall.”

Wilson’s hat-trick on his return against Huddersfield in November last year showed Knowles had done his job.

He added: “Players are feeling the movement they do here is similar to what they do in real sporting environments.

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“They’re not sitting in a machine because that doesn’t transfer to actual movement on the pitch.

“What I am doing that might be different is I’m coaching these athletes through their reconditioning process and getting them to understand that everything we’re doing is contributing and will transfer when it’s time to go live on the pitch.”

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