Curtis Davies says his determination to establish himself in Aston Villa’s first team and regain his place in the England squad has spurred him on during his lonely summer rehabilitation.
While the vast majority of his Villa team mates have been off sunning themselves on foreign shores, the 23-year-old has been pounding the exercise bikes, weights and swimming pool at Bodymoor Heath in a bid to make a return to action at the start of next season following a ruptured Achilles Heel injury he picked up at Arsenal in May.
Davies, who will complete his move from West Bromwich Albion before the start of the season after spending a season on loan at Villa Park, said he is making good progress, although he admits it can be a lonely experience.
“It is going as well as it can do,” he said. “I am working hard and while I wouldn’t say I am enjoying it, I have started running now so hopefully it won’t be too long before I am out there kicking a ball as well. It is a bit lonely for me. There are four of us in doing our rehab but the other three have all done their cruciate knee ligaments (Stephen O’Halloran, Jordan Collins and Jonathan Hogg). They have similar programmes. Mine is a bit different because I have a different injury.
“I am quite focused on my goal to get fit, so whether I have to work on my own or with people or physios I will just get on with it. The main thing for me is to get back into the Villa side and hopefully from there get into the England set up.”
Davies hardly made an instant impact at Villa Park. He had to wait until last November to make his Premier League debut after a shocking first appearance in the Carling Cup against Leicester City. However, he took his chance and his impressive displays led to a call-up to Fabio Capello’s first England squad.
The injury stopped his progress but he is determined to carry on where he left off next season.
“I am only young, only 23, and I have a long career ahead of me but the fact that I have managed to get in the England squad this season, and have caught the manager’s eye, makes me believe that when I get fit I might get a chance,” he said.
“He obviously likes something about me. I need to get fit and make sure I am fit and get back into the Villa team and play well. Once that happens, then I may get the honour of playing for my country.
“I have had the best and worst season in one. At the start of the season I wasn’t playing and that was bad. After that I got in and played 12 games, and got called up to the England squad, but then I got injured.
“That is life and that is football, and everything happens for a reason. I will learn from the experience and come back fitter and stronger next season, both physically and mentally.”
Key to Davies’ England aspirations will be another good season for Villa and the London-born defender is confident that, with a few additions to the squad, Villa can once again be a force and challenge for European football.
“We had a good season last season,” he said. “The season before they had a great start but at the end of the campaign the size of the squad was their downfall.
“This season we have had a lot of continuity, a lot of players who played over 30 games. The fact that we had so many players who were playing week in, week out stood us in good stead.
“Hopefully, next season we will have a lot of bodies because we are in Europe and we do need to strengthen. I am expecting a few more team-mates when everyone comes back for pre-season.
“The manager is very shrewd and careful, but the main thing is we do get bodies in of quality and of European standard. Hopefully then we can go as far as we can in the UEFA Cup.”