Manchester United defender Chris Smalling has spoken of his relief at finally returning to action after months on the sidelines through injury.
The England international had been out of action since the end of last season and missed the European Championship due to a thigh injury.
But he has made 12 appearances since returning in November and is looking forward to contributing for United in their bid to win the English Premier League.
“I feel good,” Smalling told United’s website. “I’ve been able to play a few games now and it’s just a case of keeping that going.
“The more games you have the more you get into a rhythm and the more confident you feel.
“I just want to stay injury-free now and hopefully go on a good run (of playing games). There are lots of important matches coming up.
“It’s been one of the worst (injury setbacks) I’ve had. It started at the end of last season and then I missed the start of this season.
“It’s never easy to miss the start of the season and then come back into it, but I’m fortunate that I’ve started to get back into the team.
“The main thing you focus on when you get back is getting into a rhythm. You’ve missed out while everyone has been playing and doing well so it makes you focus harder to get yourself back to being better than you were before.”
The 23-year-old said he had been impressed with the side’s performances in both the league and the Champions League in his absence.
“It’s exciting to come back into the team particularly when you look at options we’ve got,” Smalling said.
“Even when the manager rotates things as he does sometimes the players coming in are players a lot of top clubs would want.
“It’s good to see we’ve got such a strong squad.”