Antef Tsoungui says he has used his time out recovering from an ankle injury to take his game to the next level.
The Belgium youth international picked up the injury at the beginning of December, but looked assured on his return to action as Albion cruised to a 5-1 Premier League 2 victory over Derby County at the Amex on Monday.
“To get 70 minutes on my first game back makes me very happy, I feel like I put in a good performance as well which makes things even better,” the 19-year-old said. “Normally when you come back after an injury you expect to be rusty but I had two weeks of training under my belt, so I felt good, like I haven’t been away.
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“I wasn’t nervous at all. I was more excited to show everyone what I can do. I think when a player gets injured people sometimes forget what they’re capable of on the pitch. But I came back into the squad relatively well and showed how I can help the team.”
The centre-back has been re-evaluating how he prepares for training and games during his stint on the side-lines.
“No player wants to be out injured, but I have used the time to build up my strength and I’ve got the physique and weight I want to be at. I’ve also got more knowledge on what you have to do outside of the game to make sure you’re at your peak. Looking after your diet, when you rest, that sort of thing. I did have the knowledge before, but I didn’t necessarily always put that into practice.
“I am more obsessed with football since I’ve come back, I’ve loved every training session and given it my all. I’ve tried not to let any misplaced passes get to me!”
Tsoungui has had long-term injuries before, so has found his recent stint on the physio bench a little easier to deal with than previously. ”It’s almost been a breeze. I have had moments where doubt would creep in, but I would get into the gym and do my work and now I feel really good.”