Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff began his return from horror car crash by watching the Ashes series ‘incognito’ in back offices as a guest of England managing director Rob Key, claims Piers Morgan
- Andrew Flintoff was seen for the first time since his horror car crash this week
- He returned to working with the England cricket team with visible face injuries
- The ex-cricket star had watched Ashes series ‘incognito’, claims Piers Morgan
Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff watched the Ashes series ‘incognito’ this summer in back offices as a guest of England managing director Rob Key, according to Piers Morgan, who says he is ‘chuffed’ to see his ‘good friend’ returning to public life.
Flintoff suffered a near-fatal car crash last December while shooting an episode of BBC motoring series Top Gear at Dunsfold Park Aerodrome in Surrey and wasairlifted to hospital after breaking a rib and suffering facial injuries.
The 45-year-old made his first appearance since the accident this work as he returned to working with the England cricket team with cuts noticeable on his nose and mouth.
TalkTV host Morgan has now provided more insight into Flintoff’s recovery process and gradual return to the public eye, revealing that he had been watching England’s Ashes series against Australia in secret, thanks to the help of Key.
Speaking on talkSport, Morgan said: ‘I’d heard from various people that through the Ashes series that he was turning up as a guest of Rob Key, who runs England cricket now and is one of his great mates, but they were very incognito and watching it in back offices on TV. A very small number of people went to see him.
Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff watched the Ashes series this summer ‘incognito’ in back offices as he recovered from a horror car crash, according to Piers Morgan
Morgan (R) revealed how his ‘good friend’ Flintoff gradually adjusted back to public life
‘I was encouraged, but he’s still got a lot of scarring on his face and signs of injury nine months after the crash.
‘I know he’s had a lot of mental health issues because of it, as you would expect because it was a horrendous crash that nearly killed him.’
Morgan, who hosted Flintoff on his Life Stories TV show in 2019, said the Top Gear host had messaged him recently and believes he is now in a ‘better place’ despite his turbulent year.
‘Freddie is gingerly putting himself back into the game and it’s brilliant to see him laughing and joking and interacting with the public again. I think he needs that,’ he added.
‘I’ve known him for a long time and he’s a good friend of mine and we were really worried about him because the reports of how bad the crash was were that it was real life and death and he was lucky to survive.
Flintoff watched the series in secret as a guest of England managing director Rob Key (R)
Flintoff was seen for the first time since the crash last week when he returned to working with the England cricket team at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton
‘I’m so chuffed for him and actually got a message from him yesterday. He’s not really been interacting with anybody as he’s been trying to get himself back on track. Now he’s in a better place and I’m really pleased about that.’
Father-of-four Flintoff, who is one of the great all-rounders of the English game and the hero of the 2005 Ashes triumph, quit his Top Gear job after the accident and the BBC cancelled the latest series of the show – with its future remaining in doubt.
While it is unclear whether Flintoff will ever return to TV screens, last Friday he made a return to senior England cricket by joining the coaching staff at Cardiff’s Sophia Gardens for the one-day international series against New Zealand as a mentor.
Flintoff is one of the great all-rounders of the English game and was an iconic symbol of the famous side that won the Ashes in 2005.
In all he played in 79 Tests and 141 one-day internationals before retiring after England won the 2009 Ashes.
Flintoff quit Top Gear after the near-fatal accident and several members of staff who witnessed it signed off sick indefinitely as a result of post-traumatic stress disorder
Flintoff’s family (pictured with his wife Rachael and three of their four children) reportedly begged him to stay away from the set while he was recovering from his injuries
Flintoff is still recovering from the injuries he sustained in the horror crash that almost killed him nine months ago – which has since raised concerns about whether the right health and safety checks were in place.
His three-wheeled open-top car, which did not have air bags, flipped while filming the hit BBC motoring show on December 13.
Flintoff then had to wait an ‘agonising’ 45 minutes for an air ambulance – with the BBC later giving him an apology.
He has since quit Top Gear and several members of staff who witnessed the accident signed off sick indefinitely as a result of post-traumatic stress disorder.
The latest news around his recovery comes after his ex-England team-mate Steve Harmison revealed he had seen him just six weeks ago when Flintoff was still covering up his face due to the severity of the injuries.
‘It was great to see him back,’ he said.
Steve Harmison (L) – who played with Flintoff (R) for seven years – revealed his ex-team-mate was still covering his face when they met just six weeks ago
‘It’s been tough, you’ve seen the pictures of him with a smile on his face but I saw him about six weeks ago when my son Charlie and his son, Rocky played against each other and it was great to see him.
‘Obviously I roomed with Andrew for the best part of 15 years and we’d gone through all our careers together and so to see our two sons playing each other, Northumberland against Lancashire, it was fantastic.
‘I got to see him then but at that time he covered his face up when he walked around – believe it or not, he was training a guide dog which I’m sure is going better now than it was because he tripped over around three times on his way around the field!
‘He was on great form, but to see him around the England group, the main team, was fantastic. This England team are a good bunch and not only are they great cricketers, but they’re great ambassadors.
‘Freddie was always brilliant in the dressing room and so to have Andrew in the dressing room with them and feeling comfortable and letting him get his feet under the table because they’ll be in for a show.’
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