Dele-Bashiru: “I'm Working Really Hard”

By: Kevin Affleck

Tom Dele-Bashiru is back full-time at the training ground and stepping up his recovery from injury as he bids to return and recapture the hugely promising form he showed at the start of the season.

The midfielder underwent surgery in London to repair the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee and then did the first part of his rehabilitation in Manchester, his home city. He is now back among his teammates at the club's training base in London Colney and working long into the afternoons to get back as quickly and as strong as possible.

“It's going really well,” he said on Hive Live. “I'm working really hard trying to get back. It's good to be back around the lads. I spoke to Nate, Dom, Troy and Clevs while I was in Manchester, but it's much better to be with them now. It gives me extra motivation and I know I need to work really hard to get in and around this team. Everyone is performing so well, especially in that midfield three.”

Dele-Bashiru must be chomping at the bit to be back involved given the form the team are in and the way this season is shaping up to end in a thrilling denouement. But the 21-year-old is a little way off returning to light training and is being held back until the time is right.

“No-one wants to rush me back,” he said. “This is a long-term injury and maybe I'll be back at the end of this season or the start of the next. We are meeting each goal and then moving onto the next one.”

Hornets hero Richard Johnson knows all about long-term injuries from his playing days and he is advising Dele-Bashiru to only come back when he is right.

“Mentally it can be tough,” said the former midfielder. “You can feel alone half the time as you are not mixing with the main group. It's hard to keep your spirits up, but things have changed from my days as he's now got lots of people round him and the medical staff are so good. The biggest thing is not to rush back. You can feel good and want to go on and do that bit extra and then you have a set-back. You have to be patient.”

Johnson is excited to see Dele-Bashiru back out on the field as he was “just getting into a rhythm”, particularly in the start to the game against Reading. The Nigeria Under-23 international has used the time wisely, building up weaknesses he had in some areas and studying the team and other midfielders.

“I like watching football and learning,” he said. “I'm still so young, I love learning from more experienced players. I've learnt a lot from Clevs. He's a great player on and off the field. He's a leader, communicates so well and works really hard. There are things I need to add to my game from him. I'm a creative midfielder, but I can play deeper as well. I like getting on the ball, driving forward, scoring and assisting. I like the expectation on me and I just can't wait to show what I can do and start playing again.”

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