For Sydney FC star Ben Warland, the recent COVID-19 lockdown has felt longer than most, with the Sky Blue defender itching to return to the game he’s been absent from for nearly one and a half years.
Having overcome a grueling 12 month rehabilitation from an ACL injury, Warland returned to the bench in March, and while poised to receive minutes in the latter stages of the season the pandemic forced a halt to the league.
Now back in full training with the Sky Blues, and with a July 17th restart date set, Warland can’t wait to feature once again in Sky Blue.
“It was very frustrating really [when the pandemic set in], what else could happen really I think I’ve been through it all,” Warland said.
“It’s nearly been a year and a half now [since I played fully], it’s been a very very long time and I miss playing and walking out with the lads on the field.
“Having the 3 months off with the pandemic, I tried to stay fit as much as I could with a running program.
“I owed it to myself to try and keep fit after the 12 months of rehab with my ACL, it would have been silly of me to not do everything I could to comeback raring to go.
“I feel stronger definitely,” he continued.
“All the boys have worked hard, everyone was different, I was lucky my girlfriend was still working so I was by myself most days with nothing else to do but go for a run and work out.
“I’m just raring to go and hopefully get a few games in at the end of the season.”
Warland completed an in-house training game on Saturday, and the central defender said it was moments like that, that further instill confidence in the Adelaide native to return to the pitch.
“It was really good [to play on Saturday], even then it was still a little weird because I’ve played a handful of them [training games], since I’ve been back,” he said.
“I look at that as good training for my knee and getting the confidence in my mind to go into tackles. I loved it and can’t wait for the next one.
“I’ve done a few of those games and trained fully for a long time now, so I don’t really think about my knee until I’m in the physio room. When I’m on the field it doesn’t cross my mind.
“I can’t wait to return, I’ve been counting down the days since the break and I can’t wait to get out there, get a game, run out with the boys and get stuck in.
“To get a handful of games in would be great,” he continued.
“Hopefully, I can have a good game and that puts a bit of faith in the coaching staff to stick with me so I can keep playing.”
Sydney FC return to Hyundai A-League action on Friday 17 July against the Wellington Phoenix.