The Malaysia-born midfielder who fought back from cancer

Just over a year ago, Samuel Bone was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Now, the midfielder is enjoying a second shot at football with Shamrock Rovers in Ireland and he speaks to FourFourTwo about his inspiring journey...

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Most professional footballers would be forgiven for feeling jangling jitters before a match -  let alone a 19-year-old.

But when he steps onto the field, Shamrock Rovers teenager Samuel Bone knows no nerves, only the happiness of being able to lace up his boots once again.

To think this could have been taken away from me a few months ago, I'm so grateful to still be playing

"I literally have the mindset of 'go and enjoy yourself'," Bone told FFT. "To think this could have been taken away from me a few months ago, I'm so grateful to still be playing."

A former trainee at Charlton Athletic, Bone was born in Kuching, but left Malaysia when he was five after his father (former Geylang United and Sarawak player William "Billy" Bone) retired from playing football.

The last time FFT caught up with Bone was in 2015, while he was at Charlton Athletic's academy, hoping for his big break. Bone then left the club in 2016 after turning down a six month scholarship extension - something he "wasn't interested in at all".

Bone says his experience with cancer has made him stronger

One sleepless night in September last year, Bone's life would change even further.

"It was the night of my aunty's wedding in Cyprus. I found it really difficult to sleep because I sleep on my front. I thought If it's the same in the morning I'll have a check and sure enough I found the lump," he explained. "All sorts of things were going through my mind that day."

It honestly broke my heart seeing grown men and children in tears

- Samuel Bone

However, Bone only had the tumour diagnosed a few months later and found that he indeed had testicular cancer.

"I have to be honest It was a tough few months .. when I initially found the tumour I did have a rough idea that it could have been cancerous but I didn't find out until a few months later, so it was sort of a guessing game which sometimes led to me overthinking," he said.

"But I was fortunate enough to have my family and friends support me through the journey which made it so much easier."

After a successful operation to remove his right testicle, the midfielder began his journey back to fitness.

[NEXT: Enjoying Ireland and representing Malaysia]