Crawley Town player Lanre Oyebanjo admitted being back playing after a long-term injury-absence made him feel like a child again.
The Reds defender gave an assured display when he played 86 minutes of Tuesday night’s 2-0 victory against Newport.
It was his first competitive game of the season having had a knee operation in July.
Former York City right-back and West Ham youth, Oyebanjo, 25, said: “I felt like a kid coming out running on to the pitch, I enjoyed it so much, you take it for granted when you play week-in, week-out how much it means.
“It’s hard to watch - it’s only when you are not playing you realise how much you miss it.
“I love being back, a good team performance, a good clean sheet and three points and we can move on for Saturday.
“I’ve been on the bench a couple of times and it has been touch and go (if I played). I felt ready and the gaffer (Mark Yates) backed me and put me in to play and hopefully I can push on and I will get fitter and fitter my performances will pick up.
“I need to make up for lost time. We’ve got another 12 matches and I want to play as much as possible and move on from my injury.
“It’s been the most testing time for me of my career. Some good days, some bad days. I am delighted to be back - it’s been too long and will look forward to playing again on Saturday.”
Oyebanjo admitted being out so long was a challenging situation to be in, his comeback from his initial operation last summer originally expected to return in October.
He said: “Having had one operation, I got my head around one, I came back and had an injection which I thought would help and then I got the news that I needed a second operation.
“It was a big setback, but you get setbacks in life and you have to deal with it and I’ve done that today and will hopefully get more games under my belt.”
Oyebanjo motivated himself towards recovery through rehab and training by taking a step-by-step approach.
“You set yourself little goals, like how much you are going to lift, little targets, nothing too long, just short-term - you get your strength and then take it from there.”
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