DARLINGTON defender Luke Trotman has finished as runner-up in Love Island.

The 22-year-old has spent the past few weeks in South Africa competing in the ITV2 reality show, and tonight finished second alongside fellow contestant Siannise Fudge.

“What an experience, I can’t even describe how amazing it was,” he said.

The winners of the programme were Paige and Finn.

While appearing in the programme Trotman has missed no matches as he has been unavailable to Quakers since August due to an Achilles injury sustained in the second match of the season.

The attack-minded right-back is not due to make a first-team return until the latter stages of this season, but has been making good progress in his recovery and Quakers say he was given a rehab programme to stick to while in South Africa.

The club gave their blessing to him taking part in the popular television programme, which in the past has made celebrities of its contestants.

Trotman, studying a banking and finance degree at Loughborough University, is a popular figure among Darlington players and supporters.

He missed only one match last season due to suspension, his form leading to an England C call-up.

Speaking at the end of January when Trotman entered Love Island villa, Darlington manager Alun Armstrong said: “He’s way ahead in his rehab of where we thought he would be, he’s been pushing ever so hard – you’ll see the condition he is in on TV.

“He’s a good honest lad, he’s never someone that is going to let himself go, for a semi-pro footballer he’s really professional about his football.

“He’s with us two or three days week and the other lads have a job but he’s doing a university degree, so to be given this opportunity, why not?

“If he was fit and playing we would’ve said no straight away. I think there’s a footballer on the show from Oxford City, he’s not injured, but I would’ve said no. No way would I let anyone go on it if they were fit.

“I didn’t want to stand in his way. I could never see him on the programme, mind, I didn’t think he was that kind of person and I said that to him! He’s a really clever lad and one of the nicest people you could meet, so I was taken aback when he told me!

“I said ‘I couldn’t ever see you on there, Trots’, not one little bit, and he was just laughing! Fair play to him.

“It’s a massive opportunity for him, some people go on there and really change their lives, so why not.”