“I never felt like I wouldn’t come back but the whole absence has toughened me up mentally and that will serve me in good stead because as much as this game is about fitness and skill you need to be mentally attuned too. The worst thing about being out for so long is that it erodes your confidence and that is what I need to build up,” he asserted.
“I am still a young lad and I now appreciate more than ever what I have got. I am so keen to get back because playing football is the best thing in the world.
“There have been loads of changes while I have been out and I have gone from being a mid-table side to being genuine contenders for honours which is the aim.
“Gareth Barry, Nigel de Jong and Stephen Ireland are all top class international players and there is still Vinnie Kompany to come back too so am I well aware of the challenges that are ahead of me.
"But that is in the future.For now my aim is to get physically fit and this week has been part of that. The reserve game was tough against a good Liverpool side but I got forty-five minutes in. I hope people don’t expect too much too soon. I have a year of not playing and I am just glad to get out on a pitch and get running around.”