Seb Larsson hopes to be back to help Sunderland “sooner rather than later” as he continues his return from injury.
Larsson was at work on the training field when the Black Cats opened their doors to the media at the Academy Light to watch the squad going through their paces.
I feel I am pushing in the right direction to be back sooner rather than laterSEB LARSSON
For the experienced Swede, it’s a long road to full fitness after summer knee surgery, but, as one of the team’s longest-serving stars, he is desperate to get out on the park again.
“Basically I don’t have a date when I am looking to be back,” said the 31-year-old.
“So far since the operation [eight weeks ago] it has progressed really well.
“Obviously, to start with you have a brace on and you are on crutches, but since coming through that stage I have really progressed.
“I’ve not really put a date on it, but up to this point, I’m really really happy with how it’s gone.
“I feel I am pushing in the right direction to be back sooner rather than later.
“The start to the season we’ve had makes it [being out] worse.
“It’s hard enough being on the sidelines and getting your head around that, going to the games and supporting the boys when you know you aren’t going to be involved for a while.
“When we’ve scored I’ve been jumping up and down – as best I could!
“I am fully focused on my recovery and my rehab, but at the same time I try to get myself as much involved as I can with the lads and help out and push them on and use my experience.”
Larsson has not been seen this season after admitting defeat to a long-standing knee problem following the summer following the European Championships.
“Of course I wanted to play in the Euros, there’s no doubt about that,” said the former Birmingham star.
“You don’t want to go down the surgery route if there is a possibility of not needing an operation.
“If I am honest I have been struggling with this for at least 18 months.
“In the end it was impossible to continue, you feel like you are doing stuff when you are 60% at best.
“It can only go on for so long that you feel you want to keep doing that.
“You want to get back to full fitness and getting back being able to do what I know I can do.
“I didn’t speak too much about it [the injury] and I tried to play on without letting people know that you are struggling and carrying an injury.
“But when it was going on for too long and it was affecting me too much, it was getting very frustrating.
“My right foot has always been a big part of my game, being able to do certain things, and I just couldn’t in the end.”
Larsson has made good progress through his rehab work and being back on the grass has put a smile on his face.
Initially ruled out for six months, he hopes his return will be before February and given his troubles last season he is determined to make an impact.
“It’s about coming back able to help the team, not half-fit, but 100% fit,” he said.
“It’s been a while since I was 100% fit, and I can’t wait for that to be the case again.”