Danny Rose has opened up over his injury nightmare and has told talkSPORT he was ‘impressed, jealous and angry’ as he watched Spurs go from strength to strength from the sidelines.
The England defender is back in action and hoping to pick up where he left off after an agonising ten months out with a knee problem.
Rose was playing the best football of his career when he suffered medial ligament damage in his left knee against Sunderland on January 31, and while he returned to training towards the end of last season, he was unhappy with his progress and had an operation in May to resolve the problem.
That led to a ‘frustrating’ five months of rehab, before returning to training in October and finally making his comeback as a late substitute in Spurs’ 1-1 draw at Real Madrid in the Champions League.
The 27-year-old played his first 90 minutes of the season in Saturday’s 1-0 victory over Crystal Palace, and he told talkSPORT’s England correspondent Nigel Adderley: “It felt very good.
“It was just great to be back out there with the team. I’ve watched a lot of games of TV over the last nine months and it was just great to be back out there.”
During his time in rehab, Rose could only watch as Spurs reaffirmed their status as one of England’s brightest young teams – finishing runners-up to Chelsea in the Premier League last season and beating the likes of Borussia Dortmund in Europe this term.
Rose has admitted he endured ‘one of the most difficult periods' of his life on the sidelines and at one point considered giving up on getting back to full fitness entirely.
“I was impressed, jealous, angry,” he said when asked how he felt to watch Tottenham from afar.
“I’ve been through a whole load of emotions over the past nine months, not just this season.
“This injury has been one of the most difficult periods of my life, but you’ve got to think of the positives in any situation so I just hope I can stay fit and pick up where I left off last season.
“It was only probably two months ago that I was doing some rehab here [at St George’s Park] and I lost my appetite for wanting to get back fit, because I didn’t think it was ever going to happen.
“I needed a break from the club, it was stressful for me there – seeing the same faces every day, the same four walls, the same gym – I lost my appetite and it was really difficult.
“But I came here, worked, went back and started training again and once I started training again I was back at it, I fell in love with football again.
“Watching us, Tottenham, beat Dortmund at Wembley and having the whole Real Madrid trip to look forward to, you know it brought my appetite and hunger back for football.
“I’ve been itching to get going for the past couple of weeks and I’m just grateful I’m back amongst it now. I feel as if I’m in a good place. I’ve had a taste of my first 90 minutes in the Premier League and I just can’t wait to keep that going.”
Rose was forced off against Sunderland with an injury which would take ten months to fully heal
The England international also spoke openly about the mental struggles he encountered during his time away from the game.
Listening to Rose, it's becomes clearer to understand just why he sat for that controversial interview with saw him criticiseTottenham's wage structure and transfer policy.
At that time, he was a target of serious interest from Manchester United and Chelsea and his comments upset both fans and the club, and saw him fined two weeks' wages.
His relationships with club, fans and manager Maurico Pochettino have healed in the time since, though, and, with help, Rose is eager to put those dark months behind him.
“Last season I was doing well, I felt untouchable. I felt like it was one of the best. I felt that if I carried on with that form anything could have happened", he added.
“But then the injury happened, it humbled me, it brought me back down to earth, it gave me a reality check and it just made me realise that football can be taken away from you at any given point.
“It happened in a freak accident and it was very hard to deal with, especially because at the time I thought I’d be out for a couple of weeks, and weeks turned to months and I really didn’t see myself playing again any time soon.
“It was really difficult, really, really difficult, hence the reason why I’ve started speaking to somebody now to help me with that.
"I’ve started seeing a psychologist to try and help me think positively and I’ve started reading books to stay positive as well. They’ve been a massive help for me.
“I’ve just grateful now and hopefully I can use it to stay fit and make the right decision going forward in the future.”
Listen to talkSPORT's interview with Danny Rose IN FULL above…