Arsenal defender played with stress fractures to kick-off

Making only one Premier League appearance for Arsenal, he later discovered he had been playing with multiple stress fractures in both shins.

Despite the physical toll, that single match marked the beginning of Arsenal’s 49-game unbeaten streak.

Ryan Garry

Ryan Garry is a product of the Arsenal youth system, winning the FA Youth Cup in 2001 before being promoted to the first-team squad.

Under then-manager Arsene Wenger, he managed to clock two senior appearances, one of which was a memorable league game against Southampton in May 2003.

LONDON - MAY 7:  Robert Pires of Arsenal celebrates scoring his third goal during the FA Barclaycard Premiership match between Arsenal and Southampton at Highbury on May 7, 2003 in London. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)
LONDON – MAY 7: Robert Pires of Arsenal celebrates scoring his third goal during the FA Barclaycard Premiership match between Arsenal and Southampton at Highbury on May 7, 2003 in London. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

The Gunners dominated that match, winning 6-1 at Highbury.

“I remember going to the hotel before the game; the pre-match meeting was based around a player I would be marking, a French winger named Fabrice Fernandes,” Garry said in a 2018 interview with Planet Football. “He was their best player and I was going to have to stop him.”

That day, a hat-trick from Jermaine Pennant and goals from Robert Pires and Thierry Henry helped Arsenal commence what would be an historic run, including their Invincible 2003/04 title triumph.

The club went on to avoid defeat in the following 48 matches.

For Garry, however, there would be no more appearances for Arsenal.

He learnt that summer that he had been playing with stress fractures to his shins.

Garry subsequently left Arsenal on a free transfer in 2007 to join Bournemouth, ending his eight-year association with the north London club.

Despite moving clubs, his injury struggles persisted and he retired in 2011 at the age of 27.

After hanging up his boots, Garry made an immediate switch to coaching.

He started with Bournemouth’s reserve team before going on to roles in both Arsenal and England’s youth set-ups.

Now 40, he was recently appointed as the England under-18s manager, with Premier League legend Emile Heskey serving as one of his assistants.

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