Axel Tuanzebe has opened up on his injury hell as he prepares to return for Manchester United.
The 22-year-old was preparing for a breakthrough campaign at Old Trafford after helping Aston Villa gain promotion to the Premier League in 2019.
It prompted some warm words from Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who insisted he was ready for the first-team.
Last year, the Norweigan singled out Tuanzebe for praise after some fine displays during pre-season.
“He has got a future at United, yes, of course he has,” the Red Devils boss said at the time.
“Axel is going to be the future of this club.”
But what was earmarked as a breakthrough campaign at Old Trafford became a nightmare year.
After featuring 10 times, an injury suffered at Christmas time which saw his season come to an end.
What followed has been a long and painful road to recovery but the former England Under-21 international is back in training at a time where United are looking for defensive solutions.
But Solskjaer will not want to rush him back after he admitted his injury woes have got him down.
He said: “You’re just looking at the other lads progressing, the games being played, just counting the amount of games you’re missing and getting messages left, right and centre, asking when you’re coming back and stuff.
"It’s tough in that respect, but I’ve had good people around me who have kept me going, [who] motivate me every day, and I motivate myself to know that there’s light at the end of the tunnel.
“[I'd like to say thanks] especially to the rehab and S and C [strength and conditioning] guys.
"I’m constantly with them every day, and trying to strengthen any weak parts and do general conditioning, so it’s been really good.”
Despite his lengthy lay-off, Tuanzebe has insisted Solskajer can count him on.
“I’m good," Tuanzebe added when asked about his fitness. "It’s just good to be back among the lads in training again, as it’s been a while.
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“Over the last 12 months, you can say, I’ve not been able to get my foot down and just get going. I was always breaking down with an injury but I trust in the rehab team.
"I’ve been working closely with John Davin and he’s helped me a lot so, this time, I want to get rock and rolling.
“It’s been several injuries. It’s been unfortunate with the times of the injury and pretty much all of them there was nothing I could have done about it. It’s good to be back, I’m grateful to be back to have a few games among the lads.”
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