Middlesbrough defender Matthew Bates hopes he's seen the end of his knee problems.
“I never gave up, never thought I wouldn’t make it back,” he told the Sunday Sun.
“It’s happened to other players — Wes Brown did his knees three times I think, and when I was at Norwich I spoke to (former Newcastle midfielder) Matty Pattison, who did his same knee twice. I knew I’d always get back, I never doubted myself.
“Now I’m just determined to get back in and prove myself. I don’t feel I’m lacking in anything that I had before, I’m exactly the same player but better for the things I’ve been through.
“I’m a lot stronger now, mentally. I don’t take things for granted, whereas perhaps I did before.
“In eight months out you get a lot of time to think about your life — things in general, not just football — and it’s made me a stronger person. I work harder now in training, and I just want to be the best player I can be.”