CHARLTON new boy Yann Kermorgant spoke of his teenage battle with leukaemia after completing his first start at The Valley on Saturday.

The French forward almost didn't make it as a footballer at all after being diagnosed with the bone marrow cancer aged just fourteen.

But after undergoing years of treatment, Kermorgant was able to defy the odds and begin plying his trade as a senior pro with hometown club Vannes.

Of his life-threatening ordeal, the 29-year-old said: "It does give you a different view of life, so I try to enjoy every game and give my best.

"You can have a bad game sometimes and not be at your best, but you have to be happy.

"It was tough, but life is something you have to fight for. I came back and I have to keep going.

"I didn't know if I'd ever be able to play football after that because the doctors told me my career was finished and I shouldn't really have played again.

"But when you want to fight for something, sometimes you can change that and I have done.

"I had to undergo treatment for two years. The biggest course lasted eight months followed by about a year and a half on tablets at home.

"I know every game is important for me because I've lost a lot of time and I want to prove myself, but it's important to enjoy the football."

After amassing a respectable goals-to-games ratio across several second-tier French clubs, Yann made the switch to England in 2009 to join Leicester City, where Addicks boss Chris Powell was earning his stripes as a coach.

While his connection to Powell helped grease the wheels for a switch, a now infamous penalty miss in the Foxes' Championship play-off semi-final defeat to Cardiff a year ago has hindered his attempts to establish himself on this side of the Channel.

But despite the incident, in which Kermorgant's attempt at a stylish chip went awry in the high-stakes environment, the striker would not have hesitated to take Charlton's penalty at the weekend had skipper Johnnie Jackson not been around.

"I would have taken the penalty if I was asked," he admitted. "Johnnie wanted it and he's the main penalty taker, but if they asked me to shoot I would have, no problem.

"He was ready for it though and you have to let him concentrate on getting ready to take the kick."

On the somewhat ambiguous circumstances around the penalty being awarded, Kermorgant added: "I think it was given for a foul on me but we're not sure.

"It may have been for another one (on Bradley Wright-Phillips, who went to ground), though, as there was a lot of fouling during that play."

Kermorgant's first start for the Reds didn't provide his third goal for the club, something that will have disappointed some after the super sub found the net in his last two league games from the bench.

But the philosophical Stade Rennais academy graduate doesn't expect to be able to score in almost every game he plays, as much as he'd like to.

He said: "You are quite lucky to score when you've only been on the pitch for a small amount of time. Today I played a full game but did not score.

"If you don't score for a few games you run the risk of becoming anxious, but it's the same when you score twice in two games as everybody thinks you will definitely score and it will be easy for you.

"But this is a difficult league to play in and I won't be able to score in every game."

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