Krystian Bielik says a shoulder injury sustained in August killed off his chances of completing a season-long loan move to a Championship club.
The Poland under-21 international endured a frustrating first half of the campaign at London Colney after surgery on the problem in September forced him into a prolonged period of rehab.
On returning to fitness he completed a loan move to Walsall in January. The decision to join a League One side, having already proved his mettle at Birmingham City in the division above last season, raised eyebrows in some quarters.
It appears though, that residing worries about his fitness played a part in the decision.
“There was interest from several clubs [in the summer], but the injury closed many doors,” Bielik told Przeglad Sportowy.
“I wanted to play in a first team in England. I would go to the Championship but, because of the injury, the clubs did not want to risk me.
“The next day [after the injury] I learned that I am leaving for a loan, I could choose between two major clubs from the Championship – Norwich or Nottingham. Well, I could not, because it turned out that the shoulder had to be operated.
“I got to League One [with Walsall] and I’m glad that we managed to find a club in the senior football programme by the end of the season. People think what they want. This league is as hard as the Championship.
“I want to play in the Championship. I’d love to go back to Birmingham. I would feel best there. I would not need acclimatisation. I know the club, players, coaching staff.”
Fingers crossed the 20-year-old can enjoy a solid end to the season and then focus on challenging the first team defenders in pre-season.