West Ham's Ashton: Injuries won't get me down

West Ham United striker Dean Ashton insists his injury agony won't get him down.

Ashton was on the verge of playing in England's recent Euro 2008 qualifiers before a sprained knee ligament put him out for six weeks.

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The jinx struck during the closing stages of a defeat at Aston Villa, just as Ashton was approaching full fitness following a year out with an ankle injury.

He had scored in three consecutive matches and had been rewarded with a call-up from Steve McClaren for the games against Estonia and Russia.

Ashton told the Mirror: "It seemed as though there was something against me." But the 23-year-old marksman insists, again, that he will bounce back stronger to make a significant contribution to West Ham's season.

"After my experiences last season, there is nothing in football that could worry me," added Ashton.

"The whole situation has changed my outlook massively and it has made me appreciate what I've got.

"I also think it has made me a lot stronger mentally.

"It may sound daft but, when you can't walk, you suddenly realise what it must be like for people who have to suffer that permanently.

"I really appreciate just being able to run freely and kick a ball - and I want to do that for as long as possible."

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