Newcastle United right-back DeAndre Yedlin is preparing for a return to the matchday Premier League squad as soon as possible after recovering from a reoccurring injury.
The 26-year-old has been struggling with a groin injury on and off for the past 18 months and has opened up about his struggle in terms of missing games and even playing despite not being fully fit.
The defender helped his side survive last season under Rafael Benitez whilst playing with the injury, but is now ready to impress new manager Steve Bruce and earn his spot back in the team.
He spoke to the official Newcastle website about the details of the injury and the issues he has had to face with it during the last campaign.
"For nearly 18 months leading up to (the operation), I was having off-and-on pain in my pelvic region, and it got to the point where it became kind of tough to play.
"I got an MRI on it and basically the conclusion was that I needed sports hernia surgery, a bit different to groin repair. The recovery for it was meant to be quicker than it was - there's been some scar tissue issues and things like that, so it's been a bit frustrating, especially with the new head coach coming in."
The USA international is now edging closer to a return to action for the Magpies.
"Now, I'm getting closer and closer. It's just about going out and proving every day what I can do in training, and hopefully getting an opportunity in the games."
Yedlin has revealed how he struggled to play games with the injury last season
Despite still having the groin problem, Newcastle's number 22 played plenty of games during the last campaign and admitted how difficult that was at times.
"It was tough, and it was a bit confusing because it would come and go. There would be months that I'd be playing with it and I'd take pain killers before the game and try to get through it, then there'd be times when it didn't bother me at all.
"Even in warm-ups, I'd be thinking, it's going to be tough to make it through this game. Once the pain killers hit in, you can't really feel anything anymore and then adrenalin hits in but, yeah, it's tough. You don't want to stop and lose your place, but you've also got to do what's best for the longevity of your career."
After the Magpies had avoided relegation in the 2018/19 campaign, Yedlin had an operation to try and finally put a stop to the issue.
"It got to the point where the pain just got too much and it was hard to handle so I sat down with (the club's medical staff) and they were great about it. I went to see a couple of different surgeons and they gave me the option of where I wanted to go, so that was good from them."
The defender is now desperate to be back playing for Newcastle
After making a full recovery from the groin problem, Yedlin is now determined to earn a spot back in the Newcastle team.
Although, he has admitted that the performances from some of his teammates will make that a difficult task.
"My objective now is to get back to 100 per cent and get to the point where I'm batting for a place on the field. The guys on the right side, Javier [Manquillo] and Emil [Krafth], have done great and the team have got some good results, so it's not like I'm going to just step right back in.
"I'm going to have to battle for that, but that's the competition of the team and that's what makes the team better. I'm excited and I'm ready to do that."
As with any injury, it can always come back as a reoccurring problem and the fullback is more than aware of that, he said:
"There's still a few things I'm a bit apprehensive with - crossing is one of the things that irritated it. At the beginning of August, I came back and thought it was fine, got into training, hit a cross and it flared up again. But it's just about trusting yourself to be able to do those things.
"But being back out in training again with the boys is great. It's not fun, training by yourself for two months, but being out with the guys again is great, getting used to the speed of play and just getting back on the ball."
The defender feels he is now ready to finally get back on the pitch in a Newcastle shirt in the next couple of weeks.
"It's been a good two-and-a-half-weeks and it's been great getting to work with the new head coach and new staff.
"I've had contact with the manager and they're keeping updated on how I'm doing. This last international break was just a bit too soon but hopefully the next one, I'll be ready for and hopefully, I'll have some minutes under my belt by that time, then really crack on from there."