No player has had more bad luck with injuries than Mark Paston, but the laid-back goalkeeper has put all that behind him and is looking forward to the start of the rest of his career.
Off the field life is good for the 34-year-old custodian with the birth last month of his second son Benjamin – a brother for 19-month-old Jack — and he is hoping things are about to take a turn for the better on it.
During his four seasons with the Wellington Phoenix Paston has spent long periods on the injured list, starting with suffering concussion in a collision with team-mate Greg Draper in the last minute of the final training session before the club-s first A-League game against Melbourne Victory.
Paston went into that session as the club-s No 1 keeper, but had to sit on the bench for much of the season as No 2 Glen Moss grabbed his opportunity with both hands.
In season two an injury to Moss allowed Paston back between the posts as Ricki Herbert-s first choice, and he went from strength to strength before breaking a leg in a collision with team-mate Andrew Durante in training the following season.
The hard work Paston put into his rehabilitation paid off when he was fit in time for World Cup finals where he turned in three outstanding performances for the All Whites that made him a national hero.
He was showing the same kind of form for the Phoenix this season before sustaining a broken leg in a collision with Gold Coast striker Bruce Djite.
It meant another long period of rehabilitation, but he is now well on the recovery trail and looking forward to playing again.
“The leg is coming on well now. I-m feeling good and started running three weeks ago,” Paston said.
“There is still some way to go but I-m happy with the progress.”
Paston admits the latest injury was frustrating, coming as it did on the back of the World Cup which he says was undoubtedly the highlight of his career.
“Yes it was, but there isn-t anything you can do once it has happened. You have to stay positive and look ahead. Hopefully from now on I-ll be injury free. I think I-ve had my share!”
Paston said he would be taking things one season at a time when he returns to the action but had no intention of hanging up his boots “as long as the body doesn-t give up”.
When it was pointed out that Manchester United goalkeeper Edward Van der Sar was about to retire at the age of 40 Paston laughed.
“The difference is I don-t think he will have to worry about finding a job when he does stop,” he said.
Just in case however Paston has been doing work experience with IT company Revera, one of the Phoenix-s sponsors.