Manchester City forward Gabriel Jesus has admitted that his recent injury layoff has been playing on his mind since returning to fitness last month, while also revealing he has been helping international colleague Neymar through his own injury trouble.
Jesus missed the whole of January and February after suffering a knee ligament injury in City's 0-0 draw with Crystal Palace on New Year's Eve and made three substitute appearances before his first start against Basel in the Champions League this week.
"When you are in the game, without wanting it, you end up thinking about the previous game where you got injured; you have a bit of fear," Jesus is quoted as saying by ESPN.
The 20-year-old Brazilian scored his first goal since his comeback in that game against Basel, his 11th of the season in all competitions, and hopes that playing more games will now help to reduce his nagging 'fear' of getting another injury.
"As you are playing more and more, you are going to get rid of that fear and play your football," Jesus explained.
"I think I still played with some fear [against Basel]. There's some movements when I still have some worries about getting injured again. I know anything can happen, but I'm sure that the more you play, the quicker that fear is going to go away.''
As for his contact with Neymar, Jesus received word from the €222m Paris Saint-Germain superstar after he suffered a broken metatarsal late month, an injury that will keep him sidelined for many weeks and could even hamper his fitness at the World Cup.
"Neymar sent me a message right after his injury," the City forward said. "I told him how I felt and how my recovery was. He is a fighter and everything is going to be fine.''