Rhys Bennett admits that the hard work has paid off after returning to first team training on Monday.
The defender tore his posterior cruciate ligament, tore his medial ligament and damaged his cartilage during Dale’s League Two encounter against Bristol Rovers back in March and has spent the close season working with physio Andy Thorpe as part of his rehabilitation.
The 21-year-old recognises that the hard graft has paid off: “It has been a long summer due to being injured and I have spent most of it with the physio (Andy Thorpe) working hard, so it is nice to be almost there because it has been frustrating.
“I was in five days a week with the physio and obviously it disrupted my summer and it disrupted his, but it is something we had to do and it something which has got me in this position, so I’m grateful for the work that he’s done to get me to where I am now.
“When you look at the three injuries I sustained, two out of the three were natural healing and one of them required an operation which I had. Since then I have been doing strengthening work and probably without that strength I wouldn’t be back so soon.”
Bennett joined Dale last summer and made 37 appearances for the club during the 2012/13 season. He featured in the centre of defence for Rochdale, as well as right full back and midfield during the campaign. Although centre half would be his preferred choice, he insists he’s happy to play wherever he is asked to.
“I thoroughly enjoyed my first season here and in the Football League. I learnt a lot as a player and I’d like to think that I can take that knowledge and the added experience to prepare myself for this season and hopefully we’ll have a good go at promotion.
“Wherever I am on the pitch I’m just happy to be playing. I’d like to think my preferred position is centre half, but wherever the Manager plays me, I’ll give my best for the team.”
Bennett netted twice during the campaign, including his goal against York City which was voted as Goal of the Season by supporters, and he’s hoping to add more to his tally this year.
“I’ve personally set a target for myself. I’m not going to tell you what that is incase I don’t get it, but I’d like to score a few more goals because I have the ability to and have the knack around the box of scoring goals and that’s what I’d like to do.”
You can listen to the full interview with Rhys on Dale Player now.