Aston Villa's injury-jinxed centre-back Martin Laursen is delighted to finally be back in action after a career-threatening knee problem.
The 29-year-old Denmark international made his first start in over a year in the 1-1 draw with West Ham last weekend, having appeared only 15 times for Villa in just over two years since his arrival from AC Milan.
Laursen commented: "It was a great relief to play against West Ham. I was back after all that time away and there were some moments when I did not think I would be able to play again.
"The surgeon could not say 100 per cent that I would come back. He said it was 80 per cent, so that was the hard part.
"The mental part was tough as I was working hard, but at the back of my mind was the thought 'would I ever come back again?'.
"I had to work hard to give it a chance. If I hadn't I wouldn't have been able to look at myself in the mirror.
"My knee now feels very, very good. I am training almost like the other lads. I have one different programme I have to do one day a week to build up the strength in my knee."