In her exclusive column for GiveMeSport, England and Manchester City superstar Lucy Bronze discusses her recovery from knee surgery and her return to the football pitch.
I’m so excited to be back playing football after my time on the sidelines. My recovery from knee surgery has gone as smoothly as possible, and it’s been great to start the New Year back on the pitch.
It’s been even better to start with two massive victories – a 6-0 win against Brighton in the WSL, and a 5-0 result against Leicester City in the Continental Cup. I’ve missed that winning feeling!
It took four months to recover from surgery, but it didn’t actually feel too long. I think it’s because I had planned surgery.
It was different to being unexpectedly injured during a match or in a tackle. There was a process to it, and I knew what I was getting myself into.
There’s been a lot of injuries at Manchester City as well, so we’ve all stuck together. I would watch matches with Keira Walsh and Ellie Roebuck, and I’ve spent a lot of time doing rehab with Chloe Kelly.
We’ve been able to share the frustration of being on the sidelines among us, and that has really helped.
Learning from previous injuries
I’ve now had five knee surgeries – I’ve been through this process so many times! As a result, I’ve gained a lot of patience compared to when I would pick up injuries as a younger player.
These days, I won’t rush things. I want to get everything right. I’ve learnt that if you go too quickly, you could pick up another problem, and it’s just going to take you even longer to recover.
Before surgery last year, the surgeon warned me that I could be out for a while. But it once took me 12 months to get back from knee surgery, so I knew I would be absolutely fine if it was a shorter period of time than a year.
I’ve been able to pass on my knowledge to the younger players at Manchester City. I spoke to Chloe Kelly after she had ACL surgery, and gave her some tips.
Even though you’re on crutches and just had surgery, it’s actually a really important time and you can get good work done. I learnt from such a young age that these little things make a difference, so I was able to share that with Chloe and Esme Morgan.
Aims with Manchester City
I think having another defender back is going to be a huge lift for Manchester City. Alex Greenwood has done so well – she’s been one of our best players for the first half of the season.
But she's played most games when she’s been fit, so it will be good to be able to take a bit of the load off her.
After all, I am a senior member of the team. Although I won't be completely back to my best in the first few games, I'd like to think my brain will still be working just as well, and I can help organise the team.
My aim is to help Manchester City earn a Champions League place. We’ve made it a little bit difficult for ourselves this season, but I think we can be positive, especially after our emphatic victory against Brighton last weekend.
The next step is to beat Aston Villa tomorrow, and If we get a good set of results going, I’m certain we can secure a top three finish.
It would also be nice to get a bit of silverware this season, and that is still a strong possibility with the FA Cup or Continental Cup. There is still plenty to aim for.
Regaining a spot with the Lionesses
I’ve spoken to Sarina Wiegman a lot about my return to the England set-up. I actually asked if I could train with the team during the last camp, but she said she would rather I returned when I was 100 percent fit.
I completely understood, and I suppose if you don’t ask, you don’t get! The focus now is on the international camp in February, when we play Germany, Spain and Canada at the Arnold Clark Cup.
That camp is going to be so important – it’s going to be a real test of where the players and Sarina are at.
I like to think that I’ll be performing at my best by then, and will earn back my spot at right-back. It will be really exciting to be playing with the Lionesses again, especially with Euro 2022 in the summer.
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