Michael Essien says he is stronger after injury trauma
Ghana midfielder Michael Essien believes the trauma of missing most of last season with a serious knee injury has made him a stronger player.
Essien was sidelined for seven months after suffering a knee ligament tear but still managed to have a major influence on the team when he returned to action.
The 26-year-old helped Chelsea reach the Champions League semi-finals with superb displays against Juventus and Liverpool. He also featured as the Blues gave interim coach Guus Hiddink a winning send-off by beating Everton 2-1 in the FA Cup final.
With that up and down campaign behind him, Essien is convinced the experience has added an extra layer of steel to his personality.
“The injury has actually helped me a lot. I had to be strong to cope with the rehab and all the hard work. I have come back stronger than I was before,” he told the London Evening Standard.
“After coming back from an injury like that I am now tougher mentally. You have to be in order to cope with it.
“I don’t worry about the injury now because I’m the kind of person that when I’m on the pitch I forget about everything and just get on with my football.
“It was really tough to watch the games from the stands and seeing my team go through difficulties last season. I’m the type of person who wants to be on the pitch so that we win and lose together.”
Essien is well established as a key member of Chelsea’s squad but once again there is plenty of competition for places in new boss Carlo Ancelotti’s team.
Frank Lampard, Michael Ballack, John Obi Mikel, Deco, Joe Cole, Florent Malouda and new signing Yuri Zhirkov are all battling with the Ghanaian to make the starting eleven, but Essien expects the competition to raise standards at the club even higher.
“I think we have one of the best midfields in the world,” he said. “When you look at who we have you can see some good quality. We are strong now, but maybe we will be stronger in the future.”