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Japan's tactical prowess shines through

U-17 World Cup
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By ESPN Staff

Young Aussie footballer talks about cancer

One of Australia's most promising soccer players Dylan Tombides has returned to training this week following a 10-month battle with cancer.

The 18-year-old West Ham player was diagnosed with testicular cancer last year and underwent surgery and countless courses of chemotherapy.

"It has been a long process but all I ever wanted to do was to play football again," he told the Daily Mail.

The Perth-born striker, who was a stand-out for Australia at the under-17 World Cup last year, has a 12-inch scar from the centre of his chest to his lower abdomen from a second operation earlier this year.

"There were times when I would just look at mum and tell her, 'I don't want the chemo any more, I will live with the cancer'," he said.

"That's how I felt at times.

"It took five to 10 days to bounce back from each chemo blast and there is no trick to dealing with it."

"My teammates wanted to visit me but I told them not to because I couldn't stay awake for longer than 15 minutes and couldn't always remember what was happening.

Tombides was highly-rated at West Ham before his health problems, having made the bench for a English Premier League match at the age of 17 and been a regular scorer in the reserves.

"I didn't really understand what was going on at the time (of the diagnosis)," he said.

"All I ever wanted to be was a top professional footballer with West Ham. I copped one in my groin against Brazil at the (U/17) World Cup and I knew that I had a problem, but I had no idea it was cancer.

"It was only when I took the phone call in Cancun (on holidays) that I realised just how serious the condition was.

"I had the blood tests and CT scans when I got back to England and they told me I needed to have a testicle removed immediately."

Tombides will have another nine monthly blood tests before he can be given the all-clear by doctors.

West Ham this month earned promotion back to the English Premier League next season.

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