David Edwards admits he is relieved to be back to full fitness and has already set his sights on regaining his place in the Wales midfield.
His seven months out of the game with a back injury has coincided with a Welsh revival under Gary Speed, and with Aaron Ramsey having assumed the captaincy and the likes of Joe Allen staking an impressive claim for a starting role, competition for a midfield place is as fierce as it has ever been during Edwards' international career.
"The midfield is the strongest part of the team," said Edwards. "It is very competitive. You have the likes of Joe Allen, who has been phenomenal this season, he ran the show in Swansea's game against Wolves. Andrew Crofts is playing in the Premier League and then you have Joe Ledley and Jack Collison and the list goes on."
He added: "It has been tough watching from the sidelines, but the manager has been good to me, he has been on the phone, and it's nice to be back with the buzz in the squad with everyone doing well. It's nice to be back in the frame and to try and get back in the team.
"For me it's just nice to be in the squad and in the manager's plan. I now need to force my way in and get a chance."
But Edwards is understandably happy to take a long-term approach after his back problem, which the Shrewsbury-born player explained is hereditary, made even some of the simpler tasks in life a painful proposition.
"It was my worst injury, it was really hard," he said. "There's not much you can do.
"My dad had it and my brother had it and with the amount of sport I played it was always going to happen. I had a disc problem in the lower part of my spine that meant the bones were a bit close together and it caused a stress fracture.
"I had been getting niggling injuries but it was down to the mechanics of my body, I now have 45 minutes in the gym before training to make sure I am ready and then I come in afterwards and properly cool down and make sure everything is okay. In the long run I think it will make me a better athlete and stronger and quicker.
"There were two or three times when I got close to coming back and it would flare up again and I thought it might dog me for the rest of my career."