Blackburn Rovers striker Yakubu is in the shape of his life, according to physio Mike Rathbone.

The signing of the Nigerian was seen as something of a gamble by Rovers given Yakubu's injury history, which saw him undergo serious Achilles surgery while with Everton.

The blow signalled a downturn in Yakubu's first-team opportunities, but a move to Rovers has reignited his career, with goals against Arsenal on his Ewood Park debut proving his deadline day signing from Goodison Park could be a masterstroke.

“I think he is in the shape of his life," former Rovers player Rathbone said.

"He’s a big strong unit but he’s in great shape at the moment. Don’t expect him to run 30km in a game, but get the ball in to him around the box and he will score goals.

 

“Do you come back 100 per cent after an injury like that? That’s debatable. But you can come back, look at David Beckham and countless other examples.

“It’s credit to him, you have to put a lot of work in and he did that. It is one of the worst injuries you can get, I think it’s worse than a cruciate ligament.

“I think he’s looking okay at the moment. I saw him play against Newcastle and Arsenal. He just needs a run of 10 games and he will score goals in the Premier League, I’ve no doubt about that.”

Rathbone oversaw Yakubu's recovering from Achilles surgery while at Everton, and admits when the 28-year-old's comeback was complete, he took great pleasure in seeing him find the net once more.

“I had to break the news to him that he would be out for a long time," he added. "I went to watch the operation. It was a really bad one as far as Achilles injuries go because it was towards the end of the tendon.

“We worked together for nine months and became very close. We did a lot of running, well I did a lot of running and he stood and watched! No seriously he works really hard and he’s a true professional.

“When he came back from injury he came over and celebrated his first goal with us and that was one of my most special moments in football, it was a really nice moment. It was for all the medical staff, not just me, but it was a really nice touch.

“He’s too strong to let people questioning his fitness bother him.”

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