United’s players have been queuing up to pay tribute to Antonio Valencia, who has looked remarkably sharp on his return to the side. The Ecuadorian tells United Review there's still more to come...
How have you enjoyed being back playing?
It’s a great source of pleasure after all the time I’d been out. Training with the lads, playing again and being involved in different competitions with the team at an exciting time of the season – it doesn’t get better than that. I’m back at nearly 100%, happy to be involved again and hope to help us win some silverware.
Was it difficult to keep your spirits up while you were out injured, and were you ever worried about coming back?
All injuries make you feel a little bit down at first, but luckily I had the support of my family and my daughter, the fans and all the people around me, so it was easy to keep my spirits up. I was just determined to recover and that was always at the forefront of my mind. The physio assured me early on that I was going to make a complete recovery, which gave me a lot of heart and confidence.
Have you been surprised by how well you've played since your return?
My comeback has gone pretty well considering how bad the injury was, and how long the recovery process was. But I think I still need to work on a few areas before they are back to how they were: I need to improve my speed, strength and muscle mass. But I guess it’s not going so bad now I’ve been back a couple of months!
Wayne Rooney says he's pleased you're back – do you enjoy playing with him?
Of course – who wouldn’t? We enjoyed some success playing together last season but, more than that, he’s an inspirational leader for the side, a team player who gives everything for the cause.