Chelsea's Ruben Loftus-Cheek has revealed that learning to walk again was one of the many challenges he's had to overcome while recovering from a ruptured Achilles.
The midfielder suffered the injury in a charity match against New England Revolution just before last season's Europa League final, missing out on a start in their win over Arsenal and a place in England's Nations League squad.
Loftus-Cheek said he spent a lot of time isolated at the beginning of his rehabilitation, and it's been tough just being able to raise his leg again.
“To be honest I didn’t leave my house much, especially as I’ve been on crutches," he told WOWHYDRATE. "I’ve just been playing on my Xbox. I’ve been on holiday once, it wasn’t great as my leg was in the cast so I couldn’t swim and it was really warm.
“When it happened, I turned and pushed off and I heard a clap, it was really loud and I thought someone had smashed me from behind. The referee gave a free-kick, he blew the whistle so he must have been close to me, but watching the tape back nobody was near me.
“As soon as I came out of my cast, I could barely lift my heel off the ground in a sitting position. To lift my leg up took maximum effort, with a big injury it’s really hard, you don’t see a difference every day, you don’t wake up and think it’s a lot better every morning, it’s over a period of time.
"It’s more exciting the closer I get to making my comeback, the more I keep pushing I will be there soon. The big side of injuries is the mental side of it, so I had to stay positive and keep the right mindset. Even a tweet or a message from a fan makes a big difference to me."
The England international joked that he's been having his family cook all of his meals during recovery, but that they've been supporting him as much as possible.
"I’ve been at home with my mum, two brothers and my sister, they needed to look after me a lot," Loftus-Cheek said. "It was hard getting around in my cast. It was quite fun getting my sister to make me food all the time, my family have been fantastic through that period.
“When you have a good day you get excited, getting that much closer to getting back on the pitch again playing football, getting back in the gym and pushing it, so we will see how it goes.
"I’ve had to learn to walk again and I’ve only just got pain free but for sure I’m going to come back stronger, sharper and do whatever I can to be in better shape.
“Before I got injured I was playing my best football. I’ve missed feeling tired from running, from hard work, that feeling of being in a game again. Everything I’ve been working towards is for the feeling of stepping back onto that pitch again and I’m ready to go.”
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