SIMON Francis revealed how close friend Callum Wilson aided him through the early stages of recovery – and even tried to plan his rehab.

The Cherries skipper had consulted the star frontman after rupturing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee against Tottenham on Boxing Day.

Wilson himself has suffered the same injury in both knees at different times while with Cherries, but fought back to score on his England debut against the United States in November.

And as well as being there in an emotional capacity, Francis said his team-mate had tried to offer him medical advice.

Eleven-goal Wilson could be out for another three weeks after undergoing a minor knee operation himself.

But Francis admitted the striker had helped keep his spirits high while in the treatment room.

The club captain told the Daily Echo: “Callum has been through it all with both knees and knows what it’s like.

“He is a close friend of mine anyway and is always there on the end of the phone to talk to.

“He is funny. He thinks he could rehab someone who does their ACL, he knows that much about it. He is coming in every morning and telling me what I’m doing every day!

“He’s definitely cheered me up. It’s sad to see him on the treatment table next to me. I’d rather see him out playing but he will be back soon.”

It is still set to be a long road to full recovery for defender Francis, who had to endure a spell of sleepless nights during the early stages following surgery.

“The first week was basically a write off. I wasn’t sleeping at all – maybe two or three hours per night,” he said.

“Having to lie there with my leg up, which wasn’t comfortable in the Game Ready - the ice machine which makes a noise and is so annoying and draining, you can’t even get to sleep.

“I wasn’t sleeping with it on, I was just having ice wrapped round my knee.

“I couldn’t roll over because of the stiffness in my knee. I had to lie on my back the whole night.

“When you can roll to one side – it feels like the best night’s sleep you’ve ever had! You take little things for granted when you’re injury free.

“I was watching Netflix, reading books and thinking about other things outside of football. If you think about football, you are just going to go mad.

“Fortunately, I have a happy and healthy family at home, which is great, they helped me out a lot.”

Francis, who turns 34 this month, is determined to add to his 121 top-flight appearances.

“If I can get back to the level I was at before and play in the Premier League again then I will be more than happy. That’s my aim, that’s my motivation,” added the talismanic skipper.

“I have not set any other targets apart from that. To be honest, I’d rather this happened to me now than at the start of my career.

“It’s a hurdle I am ready to jump over and a challenge I want to accept. That’s what is motivating me to get back out there, as long as I can mix it with the lads on the training pitch then I’ll be fine.”