Former Widnes youngster Sam Freeman eyeing up full-time return

Josh McAllister
Sam Freeman

Photo courtesy of Jackie Meredith and Rochdale Hornets.

Former Widnes utility-back Sam Freeman says he is still hungry for a full-time return to the sport.

Freeman burst onto the scene with four tries on his home debut for the Vikings in a win over York in 2019. He was named the club’s Under-19s Players’ Player of the Year in 2018.

The full-back or winger left the club at the conclusion of the 2020 season, and linked up with League 1’s Rochdale. He received the number one shirt by head coach Matt Calland in his debut year with the Crown Oil Arena side. 

Despite the 2020 League 1 season being cut short due to the pandemic, the talented utility-back finished the campaign as the highest points scorer in the Challenge Cup, with two tries and 18 goals. 

He would go on to retain his number one shirt in 2021, but a ruptured ACL injury and a medial meniscus repair saw his season cut short. 

Released by Hornets at the end of 2021, Freeman is currently recovering from his injury, and is aiming for a return to the sport in the near-future. 

“I’m hoping and aiming to be back May or June”

“My future plans are just the same, to get back into full-time rugby,” he told Love Rugby League.

“With the injury, I’m hoping to be back around May or June time and any time earlier would be a bonus. I did it [the injury] back around April. I carried on then it got worse and found out I did an ACL. It was a bit of weird situation as I could still run. I had the one last game against West Wales to see how it would go, and I knew straight away and I had to get it sorted.

“I’m currently seeing a private physio, his name is Matt Konopinski, who is a former head of physio at Liverpool FC. He has opened his own rehab centre. I go and see him three times a week and he’s been really good and pushed me. I’m really optimistic and I should be starting running in the next week or two.

“I’m hoping and aiming to be back by May or June and then there’s a decent chunk of the season left. The door is open, I want to keep relationships. I’m 100% wanting to get back this season. 

“I haven’t been in touch with any clubs yet. At the stage I’m at now, it might be a bit too early but once I have passed certain marks and getting close, I’ll put myself in the shop window and see what happens.”

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Sam Freeman wore the number one shirt for two seasons for Rochdale

Speaking of his time at Rochdale last season, Freeman continued: “2021 was very strange for everyone.

“I felt really well going into the season off a back of a shoulder operation. Personally, I was hoping 2021 was going to be a great year.

“I leave Rochdale in good terms. I enjoyed working under Matt and the lads there were great. The club itself was really good. I left on good terms but it was a shame to leave on an injury. But I understand you can’t hold onto someone who’s coming back in June or July. 

“Opportunities come up all the time, so I just need to focus on my recovery and getting back fit.”

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