Nigeria international defender Tyronne Ebuehi has insisted he is raring to go following his recovery from a ‘difficult’ knee injury.
Netherlands-born Ebuehi has not played first team football since he ruptured cruciate knee ligaments in July 2018.
It means he is yet to play for Portugal’s Benfica, who he joined from Dutch club ADO Den Haag after the World Cup in Russia.
The 24-year-old has returned to the Netherlands on loan to FC Twente, who won the Eredivisie title in 2010.
“It’s been a long period out and a hard time for me,” an emotional Ebuehi told BBC Sport Africa.
“Of course, questions like ‘could this be the end?’ can pop up from time to time.
“You sometimes hear that with this type of major injuries players never return to the same level they were before the injury.
The injury hit him just as he was trying to settle in a new country after leaving home for the first time in his life.
“It was difficult in the beginning I can’t lie about that,” he admitted.
“To be away from the only country you have ever known, where you’re born and away from your family and friends. You feel alone knowing it was just no longer possible for them to just pass by.”
“It’s changed me a lot. Not only as a player but as a person.
“Away in another country being alone. Sometimes it’s like an unseen tears of frustration because of the mental pain.
“Like I always tell my family and friends now, that I’m thankful to God for this type of hard lessons sometimes in life.
“It really made me aware of lot of things, like how to take care of my body now. How things can happen in football, how to deal with them. I’m thankful for the lessons that God gave me.
“Going forward in my career, I know how to take care of myself and what’s good for me, how to handle any future injuries, hopefully it will not happen.
Ebuehi is now determined to take advantage of his latest chance back in the Netherlands.
“I missed the entire 2018/19 season because of this difficult injury, but I’m happy that I’m fit now and I’m thankful that I am able to play the game that I love again,” he insisted.
“Twente have given me the chance to show that the last two years was an unfortunate bad luck.
“It would be convenient for some people to write me off but others know better.”