Over the course of his long and successful career in the EFL, Richard Wood has pretty much heard it all before.
His answer to his doubters is as firm as one of trademark defensive headers.
Wood copped a bit of early-season stick on social media from some sections of Doncaster Rovers fanbase.
He moved to Rovers from the club whom most supporters consider to be their main rival in Rotherham United last summer.
The 38-year-old is candid enough to admit that his performances were not what he was hoping for after making the short move up the M18.
A nagging and persistent calf injury compounded his frustration and angst amid an unexpectedly difficult campaign for all and sundry at Rovers.
Thankfully, the legendary former Millers captain, who started his career at Sheffield Wednesday, is fit again and back in the day job.
Organising fellow defenders and showing leadership and how Rovers need him at a delicately-poised time in their season.
If anyone has cause to write him off in the meantime, well, that’s fine as well.
Wood, who joined Rovers on a one-year deal in the close season, said: “It has always been like that.
“No matter what; whether it be my age or (he’s) ‘too slow’, ‘he can’t play and is not good enough on the ball.’
“Whatever it has been, I have had it all through my career and that’s what spurs me on. I quite enjoy stuff like that.
“It’s like when you are getting booed by opposition fans. It spurs you on; for me it does anyway.
“I like that and being the ‘underdog’ and carrying on and people not liking me or fancying me as a player. Good for them, have your opinion.’
“But I am still playing and still going.”
Wood’s outstanding career in the EFL – he is now in his 22nd season as a professional – has dictated that the redoubtable centre-half has surely earned the right to dictate just when he calls it a day.
In the here and now, his club need him for sure. If Rovers are to avoid nervously looking over their shoulders towards the bottom two – and a potential return to the Conference for the first time since 1998 – then Wood could well play a key role.
The Ossett-born player is the first to admit that this current campaign has arguably been his toughest time to date.
Wood, who returned to the Rovers side for last week’s EFL Trophy tie at Bradford City – his previous appearance was back on November 28 – acknowledged: “Yes it is because when I am looking back at my age as well and I am struggling to get back fit and I am having a setback, it’s ‘what is going on here, is this it?’ That is what you sort of look at.
“I have looked at my career like that for the last few years anyway – is this my last one? And have no expectations.
“But when you do actually get an injury, then the worry starts to set in a little bit that this could be it now.
“I am hoping that I have seen the back of it now and that everything will be all right and I have a few years left. We’ll soon see, won’t we..”
Wood’s sense of professional dissatisfaction in not doing what he was clearly brought in to by manager Grant McCann is self-evident.
His candour is also indicative of a proud and vastly-respected professional, who sets high standards and has immense pride.
He continued: “It’s been very frustrating. I had high expectations of what I wanted to do at this club and what I could bring. I don’t feel I’ve done that – nowhere near.
“I don’t feel I’ve brought enough to the table or done what I’m capable of doing. That’s not because of me wanting to do it, it’s just down to circumstances.
“I’ve got a lot of making up to do these next few months.”
The sight of Wood back in the fold – he started last Saturday’s vital six-pointer at fellow strugglers Sutton United, which ended in the 1-1 draw – is not only pleasing for McCann and his Rovers’ team-mates, but also his loved ones.
Wood’s two lads, Jenson and Graye, have been present at some special moments in his career, most notably when he scored both goals to secure Rotherham promotion in a ‘Boy’s Own’ performance in the League One play-off final against Shrewsbury Town at Wembley in May 2018.
Thankfully now, regular family life has returned. Wood’s youngest son Graye in on the books of Sheffield United and a centre-half, like his dad.
Wood, hoping to make his first home appearance for Rovers this weekend since back on November 28, added: “That’s what I have probably found hard as well as they are at an age now where they are a lot older. They are not used to it and having me at home at weekends and upset and moody with them.
“And they want to see me play and they love watching me play. It’s been hard for all of us, I suppose and they have had to deal with me!”