West Ham striker Andy Carroll has revealed his delight at returning to first-team action.
The 23-year-old Liverpool loanee, who suffered a hamstring injury in early September, managed a 20-minute cameo as the Hammers beat struggling QPR 2-1 at Loftus Road.
Carroll’s return to fitness came earlier than expected after originally being ruled out for six weeks when he limped off during his West Ham debut against Fulham.
“I have been dying to get back.” Carroll told West Ham TV.
“I was devastated when I got injured, but I’ve worked hard and I’ve been in the gym every day.
“I’ve only been out on the training pitch a handful of times since so it was great to be out there at Loftus Road playing football again.
“All the medical staff here are great and they have worked well with us. I’ve been over the moon with what I’ve been doing and obviously that has made for a speedy recovery.”
Carroll made the season-long loan move to West Ham from Liverpool near the end of the summer transfer window – which includes a recall option for the Reds in January – with his debut coming during the London outfit’s 3-0 victory over local rivals Fulham.
“I had only trained a handful of times so it was touch-and-go, but all the staff have been great with me. I felt fine and obviously they wouldn’t have risked me if I had any problems,” he said.
“As soon as I stopped feeling the hamstring a week or two ago, I wanted to get back on the pitch, but they wouldn’t let me because they told me it wasn’t right.
“I’ve had to keep working on it and I’ve got it right. I’m absolutely fine.”