HIS debut season at Newcastle has been plagued by injury, but forgotten man Dan Gosling insists he will be ready to make his mark when pre-season training gets underway in July.
Gosling arrived on Tyneside last summer as a free agent after his contract with Everton had expired, but the 21-year-old was still recovering from a cruciate ligament injury he had sustained the previous March.
The England Under-21 international finally recovered at the turn of the year and made his debut as a substitute in the 1-1 draw with Sunderland.
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However, those few minutes at the Stadium of Light would be Gosling’s only game time for the Magpies this season after he suffered thigh and groin problems, which kept him out for the remainder of the campaign.
Now though, the former Plymouth Argyle trainee is ready to make a full return when Alan Pardew’s side return to training on July 4, but he admits not before he has had a well-earned holiday.
Gosling said: “I need a break, I’ve been in the gym for about a year now and it’s just mentally draining.
“I’ll get a few weeks off then I start early before the rest of the lads come back so hopefully from the first pre-season day I’ll be with the lads and raring to go.
“I was always playing catch up this year and everyone knows that if you miss pre-season it’s going to be a difficult year for you and obviously I’ve had a few setbacks with my knee.
“In the end I just wanted to be fit but hopefully next year I can start off on an even keel with everyone and hopefully be good enough in pre-season to get a starting place in the first Premier League fixture.
“My knee is good now, I’ve had a few other niggles. Obviously, because I’m not used to training my body isn’t used to being out there.
“I’ve had a few setbacks with my thigh and groin, but the knee is fine and I’m just raring to get back into playing regularly.”
Spending the majority of a season stuck in the treatment room is hard enough for any footballer, but even more so for a young player in his first season at a new club.
Gosling admits he found it difficult to settle into life on Tyneside at first, but says he has the squad to thank for making him feel welcome.
Now, the 20-year-old is keen to repay the patience the club has shown in his quest to regain full fitness.
“It was hard to interact with the lads at first,” Gosling admits. “They’re out on the training pitch and coming back in having banter and I didn’t really know what was going on but all the lads have made me feel welcome.
“There are some great people involved with the club and I’m really happy to be here and hopefully I can repay them when the new season starts in August.”