Named in England’s training squad in August 2014, outside-centre Trinder, 27, has spent 26 months on the sidelines since then, with shoulder, hamstring and two anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstructions putting a promising career at risk.
Now, following last week’s comeback in the Anglo-Welsh Cup tie at Bath, Trinder told The Rugby Paper: “It’s been a long slog but I’m winning that mental battle; the knee feels stronger and a lot more efficient and I’ll give anything now to stay fit.
“Signing a new contract towards the end of last season and then getting injured was particularly frustrating. It’s annoying for the club as well, but the support I’ve had from our conditioners and physios has been awesome.
“There are low moments and you wonder ‘what if?’, but I’m physically ready to play so it’s about going out there now and performing rather than worrying about it happening again. I’ve had numerous injuries but I just want to contribute now.”
Trinder takes inspiration from others who have overcome serious injury.
He explained: “I’ve spent countless hours on YouTube looking at people coming back in NFL, and you only have to look at sportsmen here like Charlie Hodgson, Gareth Delve and Alan Shearer who overcame ACL injuries to enjoy outstanding careers.
“To see people like that inspires you and I know there’s a lot of rugby in me still. Whether I can get back into that international reckoning again is for the future, but for now it’s about getting out and enjoying my rugby again and pushing my career on.”
Of that 2014 England squad selected by Stuart Lancaster, Alex Corbisiero, Tom Croft, Will Fraser, Manu Tuilagi and Anthony Allen were all subsequently struck down by injury, with Corbisiero and Allen both forced to retire early.
Trinder said: “A lot of guys have had setbacks and when I heard of Manu’s recent ACL injury, I sent a text to wish him well. It can be a lonely time for players when you’re out injured and it’s just so unfortunate that he hasn’t been able to stay fit.”
With Gloucester eight points off the Premiership play-offs and with a home Challenge Cup quarter-final against Cardiff to come, Trinder reckons the Kingsholm outfit are ready to tilt for a trophy.
He added: “It’s really tight in the middle of that Premiership so if you can win three or four games on the bounce you can shoot up towards that top four. We’ve got good strength-in-depth, which is massive right now, and feel we’re in a great place.”