Crawley FA Cup hero Nick Tsaroulla could have died in the car crash that almost ended his career.

But the 21-year-old has seized his second chance - with a little help from a performance coach famous for working with Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.

The smash that ended up seeing Tsaroulla out of the game for two years happened on July 15, 2017 when the left back was still at Tottenham.

He spent a year in rehab only for Spurs to release him, and faced a long road back before finally being given a chance by Brentford and joining Crawley on a one-year deal last October.

Nick Tsaroulla gave Crawley the lead as they shocked Leeds in the FA Cup
Nick Tsaroulla gave Crawley the lead as they shocked Leeds in the FA Cup

So you can understand why London-born Tsaroulla was in tears after scoring his first senior goal in the League Two side’s 3-0 thrashing of Leeds on Sunday.

He said: “I had a bad accident. It was head on with another car. It wasn’t pretty. The other car was three times the size, and my car was a mess.

“The doctor said if I didn’t have my seatbelt on I would have died. I was saved by the seatbelt.

Nick Tsaroulla had previously been at Tottenham
Nick Tsaroulla had previously been at Tottenham

“But unfortunately it caused an injury to the stomach. And it just needed time. But unfortunately with football clubs, like Spurs, time goes against me.”

Tsaroulla’s injury mystified doctors, and when he first attempted a comeback he developed blisters on his feet which became infected.

Then he was rushed to hospital with Cellulitis, and it was only after seeing a Harley Street specialist that he was eventually able to resume his career.

Crawley Town will travel to AFC Bournemouth in the fourth round of the FA Cup
Crawley Town will travel to AFC Bournemouth in the fourth round of the FA Cup

Tsaroulla said: “It was abdominal. No-one could really figure it out. For a year I was completely out of football.

“Then the blister got infected and there was a big red line up my leg so I had to rush to hospital. If I had left it, it would have gone black.”

Tsaroulla holds no grudge against Tottenham, who just spurred him on by releasing him in 2018.

And he battled back with the help of some bedtime reading courtesy of NBA icon Michael Jordan’s personal trainer.

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Tsaroulla said: “I read a great book - Relentless by Tim Grover. It completely changed my mindset. As it says in the book, there always has to be more.

“Spurs did everything they could. But they didn’t want to keep me. That gives me a lot of drive, though. To prove them wrong.

“I’m not going to name names of coaches but they are always in the back of my head. Maybe everything happens for a reason.

“I would have loved to stay at Spurs. But what happened, those lessons, mean I was able to do that against Leeds. I just want to enjoy my time here now.”