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AFC Bournemouth: Eagerness may have hampered Matt Ritchie's return
CHERRIES star Matt Ritchie has admitted his eagerness to join his team-mates in the trenches may have hampered his return from injury.
The gifted winger has played no part in Cherries’ impressive start in the Championship after being troubled by a persistent thigh problem.
Ritchie, who played a key role in the latter stages of Cherries’ promotion campaign, sustained his injury during the club’s pre-season tour to Switzerland.
The 23-year-old, player of the year in League One last season, felt discomfort in his thigh after lining up in Cherries’ first friendly against FC Zurich at the start of July.
And despite getting close to a playing return on a couple of occasions over the past few weeks, Ritchie’s recovery has been blighted by setbacks.
In his first interview since he was struck down by the injury, Ritchie told the Daily Echo: “I played 45 minutes against Zurich and my thigh felt a bit tight afterwards. I had a scan when we came back and it showed I had strain it. We have tried to manage it as best we can since then.
“I have been desperate to get back and have been very eager to be involved with the rest of the lads. Maybe once or twice I have tried to do too much, too soon.
“This is the worst injury of my career and the longest I have been out. I broke my leg when I was 16 but have only been injured for a few days at a time since then.
“It has been a really tough 10 weeks, especially mentally. It has been frustrating watching the lads and not being able to be involved. I was really excited about the prospect of playing in the Championship and then this happened.”
Ritchie, who netted three times in 17 appearances after moving from Swindon in January, added: “Hopefully, I am heading in the right direction and can get fit soon. I am not putting any timescales on it but am staying positive. I am desperate to get back and determined to work my way back into the team.
“I have been doing a lot of strengthening work, isolating the muscle and trying to build it up. We are very fortunate to have excellent facilities at the club and I have been working as hard as I can in the gym and doing a lot of cross-training work.
“It is tough watching the lads go on to the training pitches when you are going to the gym. Every footballer wants to be playing, not in the treatment room. But I am making good progress and have been running outside, which is a real positive. I am heading in the right direction and, all being well, it won’t be too long before I am back.”
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