Daniel van den Heuvel has revealed his pride at helping Leeds United U21s win promotion after overcoming a serious neck injury last summer.
Writing on his official Instagram account, the 19-year-old hailed his ‘amazing’ teammates after missing the first half of the campaign to come back and help secure an immediate return to Premier League 2 Division 1.
Leeds’ youngsters defeated Nottingham Forest 3-0 in the play-off final at Elland Road on Monday evening, in front of a huge crowd of over 12,000.
Georginio Rutter opened the scoring for the Whites inside the opening 20 minutes, before a stunning Jeremiah Mullen volley doubled the advantage shortly before the break.
Kris Moore then rounded off the result in the second half to ensure Leeds are back facing some of the country’s top academy sides again next season.
Van den Heuvel message after Leeds U21s seal promotion
Van den Heuvel suffered a broken neck and jaw last summer while on international duty with Netherlands U19s after he was involved in a serious car accident.
Not only was the young shotstopper worried he would never play football again, but he also feared for his life after such a horrendous ordeal.
He has, however, shown some serious powers of recovery, making his return to action back in December in a friendly against Valencia.
Fast forward six months, van den Heuvel has been a regular in the second half of the season for the U21s and expressed his joy at winning promotion via his Instagram.
“Wow! What a season.
“After missing half the season due to my injury, coming back into this amazing team and fighting for promotion! We did it boys!”
Van den Heuvel has shown an incredible amount of mental strength to get to this position so quickly less than 12 months after such a serious incident.
Whether he goes on to have a long career at Leeds remains to be seen, but his return to this level should be applauded by the Whites faithful.