Manchester United defender Phil Jones has revealed the full extent of his injury struggles as he prepares for a return to action.
Jones, 29, has not featured for United since January 2020 due to a long-term knee injury, which he had an operation on last summer.
The former England international has been building up his fitness ever since, and recently returned to first-team training as he continues to work towards a full recovery.
After months of physical and mental pain, he can finally “see the light at the end of the tunnel”.
“I’ve been through hell and back over the last couple of years,” he told the club website.
“I struggled with my knee a little bit and [there] came a point after lockdown where I thought enough was enough.
“I kept myself in great shape over lockdown and came back. But I remember just training out here [at Carrington] and going into the doc and saying ‘enough’s enough’.
“Unfortunately, there was going to be time off the pitch, which I knew was going to be difficult for me, but it was something that I had to do.
“Thankfully, I see the light at the end of the tunnel now and I’ve been back training, played a few behind-closed-doors games and I’m feeling really good at the minute.”
Jones, though, admits to having plunged into a dark, depressed state as he attempted to balance his personal life with his injury battle.
“I think as a footballer, as a person, as a human being, that’s the lowest I probably ever felt in my life,” he said.
“You try and get a balance between football and family life but it was so difficult going home and trying to look after the kids. You’re there, but you’re not there, you’re not present. It’s nice to get that balance back.
“I think at first, I’ll be brutally honest, I found it really tough to watch football, just in general because you can’t do anything about it. You’re stuck, you’re off your feet.
“Coming into the training ground every day, it’s hard to get going because you’re going to be out for so long and I knew that getting the operation.
“But thankfully, I have a good team around me, family, friends, and I got through it.”