Exclusive Interview: Albrighton - It's great to be back
Marc Albrighton admits there's light at the end of the tunnel as his injury hell comes to a close.
Albrighton is now back in training as he continues his comeback journey.
Paul Lambert will be pleased to see the reliable right-winger return to the fields of Bodymoor Heath, as the 23-year-old steps up his fitness bid.
Albrighton broke his left foot on the second day of pre-season training in July before returning to action as a sub in the Capital One Cup victory over Man City in September.
He then suffered the same injury in January on the eve of the first leg Capital One Cup clash with Bradford.
He now can't wait to get back playing under ambitious and aspiring boss Lambert.
He said: "It's great to be back out there. It's been so frustrating, especially when you consider I got injured in pre-season, had a few games and then did it again!
"It's been a really long campaign. To do the same thing twice is devastating. In between the injuries, I never really picked up my form to the level I hoped to have got to either.
"Basically this time I was running, changed direction and the bone cracked. I have had an operation and now it's about getting it strong.
"I feel like there's light at the end of the tunnel now, the clouds are lifting.
"When you first do it, you're devastated. But now I am outside in the fresh air, I am more involved, you do get confidence from that.
"I just want to get myself fully fit now. You have to be positive but obviously you don't know what's around the corner. I was saying the same things last year. Then all of a sudden, in the second day of pre-season, I broke my foot.
"So while I am confident and positive, I am realistic too. I have learnt to take each day as it comes."
Albrighton's enthusiasm and excitement at returning to action is brought sharply into focus by the fact boss Lambert is building an emerging side, based on hunger, commitment and no little skill.
Albrighton wants to be part of that set-up.
He continued: "I want to succeed here. The gaffer is building for now and for the future too. There's so much energy in the camp. That what I am all about, working my socks off for the cause.
"I want to get my career back on track. I don't want fans to remember me for injuries. I want supporters to remember my football.
"I want them to think about Marc Albrighton flying down the right-wing and making things happen.
"I want to be playing and part of the manager's plans. I want to play football on a regular basis for him. If I do that, I'm happy."
Albrighton admits he's been mentally down at several stages over the past few months as he's tried to raise his spirits in the wake of not playing the game he loves.
It's been hard, he admits, but his strong family unit has kept him going - girlfriend Chloe and daughter Matilda-Beau.
He added: "When I came home to my girlfriend and my little girl, it took my mind off everything.
"I was thinking about different things but then I got back home and it all dissolved away.
"Then I went back into my rehab work with renewed enthusiasm.
"All the stress fades away when I see my family. It puts a smile on my face."
The performances of Villa have had him smiling in the stands of Villa Park, particularly the last two wins over Reading and QPR.
Albrighton has been immensely impressed with Matt Lowton and Ashley Westwood and believes the club's committed core will see them safely over the finish line at the end of the term.
The flying winger thinks the squad has enough "mentally strong" characters to battle away from the drop zone.
He added: "Ash and Matt have shone in what has been a difficult season.
"They have come up the leagues and fitted in really well. Ash in the middle looks like he's been playing Premier League football for many years.
"Matt is solid. He will get forward for you but he's a good defender too, obviously. Both of them are lovely lads too.
"I think attitude is important. On the field you need to be a winner. Off the field you need a good personality. You do need both.
"If you have egos in the dressing room, or a couple of big-time charlies, it's not going to create a good team spirit. Our dressing room hasn't got that problem. The spirit is superb.
"I see confidence in the camp too. I watch training and I genuinely see the class we have in the squad.
"When you see that, you really think be okay, we will get out of it."
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