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First team

Daniels - It was big playing 45 minutes


AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

Charlie Daniels came though his return from injury unscathed on Saturday, and is now fully focused on getting back to match fitness.

The left-back played the first half for the under-21s away at Yeovil Town on Saturday, his first minutes on the pitch since his August 2019 knee injury suffered at Vitality Stadium against Manchester City.

Daniels - who has been out of contract since the end of the 2019/20 campaign - spoke to afcb.co.uk about his run out at Huish Park and the positive reaction from his knee during and since the match. 

"It was good to be back out on the pitch playing," he said. "It's been a long time, 13 months and with everything that's going on - a lot's happened in the world since I got injured.

"My knee's feeling good, I've trained for the last three or four weeks with the team and just felt it was time to get some minutes in, it felt fine before, during and after, everything's good.

"I was confident in my knee before the game and there's been no reaction, no swelling and everything feels good. It's time to move forwards now."

It was also a scoring return for the 34-year-old, who caught the Glovers 'keeper unaware with a stunning free-kick from halfway, the goal capping the day off for Daniels.

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Goals | Yeovil Town 2-3 AFC Bournemouth U21s

"I saw the goalkeeper off his line and he was there for a little bit of time as the ref was talking to someone," he said.

"I just said to Gav (Kilkenny), 'I'm going to have a go here' and as soon as the whistle went I took a couple of steps, had a go, and luckily it went in.

"The game as a whole was good, I was happy with the way it went, I was impressed with the young lads, their application and their performances as well so overall, I was really pleased.

"I enjoyed being around the lads and remembering what it was like when I was in their position. It was different then, in reserve team football, but playing with established players was a good feeling, you try and watch and learn how they conduct themselves and go about their business, looking to take things from that.

"I tried to be the person I've always been, especially encouraging the younger lads that played, by the end of the game the average age was about 19 so it was a good test for them and I thought they coped with it really well."

With a difficult situation in the game as a whole at the moment, Daniels spoke about his frame of mind as well as answering on what the next stage in his rehabilitation is.

"Just training, playing more games and then we'll go from there," he explained. "I'm out of contract so it's down to what the club wants to do moving forwards and then we'll decide from there.

"For me personally it was a big thing playing those 45 minutes to show that I'm back, I'm fit and I'm ready to go.

"With everything that's going on with Covid I knew it wasn't going to be a straight forward decision and outcome, the only thing I could do was control how I was and how much I can improve in that space of time.

"Obviously, the better that I am and the better that I perform in training and subsequently in games the better it's going to be for me, whether that'd here or somewhere else.

"I am fully focused on myself and whatever happens happens, we'll see what that is."

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