Hogg: Midfield trio will come back stronger than ever after injuries
Jonathan Hogg believes Fabian Delph, Stan Petrov and Steve Sidwell will come back stronger than ever after their spell on the sidelines.
Manager Gerard Houllier confirmed that the midfield trio are all back in light training after long-term injures.
Hogg can empathise with any nerves they may have ahead of a return to action having suffered a serious knee injury that put his career in doubt. But he worked hard and showed mental courage to succeed.
Now the 22-year-old midfielder has called on Delph, Petrov and Sidwell to get straight back into it and starting firing again in claret and blue.
He said: "You can't change your game because that is what you are good at.
"I did my lateral ligament, my lateral hamstring and damaged my cruciate at Spurs away for the reserves.
"It was a horrendous tackle and my leg was a mess when I first did it.
"But now my knee is as strong as it has ever been. You need a lot of mental strength - I've worked on that and I've got it and I wouldn't back out of any tackle.
"At one stage I was thinking my career could have been over the state my knee is in but now I'm back and looking forward to every occasion.
"You can't just think 'I'm injured and that could be the end of me'. I thought 'no I'm going to press on and give it everything - give it my best shot'.
"It was tough but at the end of the day if you want to get back from injury you have to put everything you can into it."
Hogg admitted that his rehabilitation from injury was an arduous process and can understand how much will team-mates will be itching to get back now.
"The rehab is boring but you have to go to try and make it enjoyable," explained Hogg. "Obviously you don't like doing leg weights or just running by yourself but you just have to grind through it and put everything you've got into it.
"The months soon go by and all of sudden you've got a month left until you're back training, then it's a week and then you are straight back in there.
"You've got to break it up gradually up but I'm back now and that's all that matters.
"My friends and family also supported me right the way through which helped."
Houllier has been impressed with the young starlet since he broke into the first team and handed him a new three-year contract earlier this month.
And Hogg was pleased to become the latest Villa youngster to commit his future to the club.
"It's brilliant to be given an extension to 2013," added Hogg. "It's a big plus for me as I've been here since I was a kid and come through the ranks so to get a new deal at this big stage of my career is massive for me.
"I just want to keep doing what I'm doing really. Work hard in training, do everything the gaffer wants on the training ground and hopefully he'll just keep give me the chance he's been giving me.
"It is massive for me to be involved with the first team and sign a new contract along with Barry Bannan and Marc Albrighton who have come through the youth together, through the reserves together so to keep us all together is good and we're all happy.
"It's been a brilliant learning experience for me. Obviously players have been out but we've still got plenty of quality in the squad.
"So to be put in around that quality is just as good as being put in at any stage really so I'm just loving every minute of it."
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