Wales boss John Toshack feared that Danny Gabbidon might not play again after almost two years of injuries.
The West Ham defender was on Friday named in Toshack's squad for next Wednesday's friendly with Montenegro in Podgorica. It is the first time since November 2007 that Gabbidon, 30 on Saturday, has figured in a Wales squad after battling back from a succession of injuries relating to complex abdominal problems.
"Having Danny back is pleasing for us all, as well as for Danny," Toshack said. "There were doubts even about his future some six months ago, so to have him back is a great step forward for him."
The manager added: "He has been involved at West Ham during pre-season and yes, it is a big plus for Wales, but an even bigger plus for Danny. It has been a long time.
"We all thought six months ago that we may not see Danny again. His injury was not improving and he was not making progress.
"So it was great to have him training with us at the end of last season and he has carried that on through the summer.
"He even managed a goal for West Ham when they were in China, so it's great to see him feeling well and he will want to make up lost time."
Gabbidon's first full 90 minutes for West Ham since the injury came last week in China, when he scored in the 2-0 win over Beijing Guoan.
"The game and the goal made me feel better about myself, it was good to be back," he said. "You do get down and wonder when you're going to get back. But you have to stay positive as negative thoughts don't help.
"What I've gone through makes you stronger mentally as I've been out for a very long time. When you see your team-mates playing you want to be out there so it makes you more determined to get back out there. The experience has made me love the game more."
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