London (AFP) – Chelsea midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek admits battling to return from a serious Achilles injury while dealing with back problems has been a draining experience.

Loftus-Cheek has been sidelined since suffering a torn Achilles tendon in a Chelsea friendly against New England Revolution in Boston last May.

The 24-year-old England international was close to returning to action when the Premier League was suspended earlier this month because of the coronavirus.

In an Instagram video discussing his long road to recovery, Loftus-Cheek said the power of positive thinking eventually helped him rehab the Achilles and handle his long-standing back problem.

“My physical presence, how powerful I am, is my biggest strength,” Loftus-Cheek said.

“But my body is also my weakness. And that’s just what I have to manage.

“I have to manage my body, and that’s what I’ve learned a lot about. So it’s working smart, working hard but listening to your body as well.

“Be aware of your journey and pay attention to it. The mental side of being injured is hard.

“Going through the tough times it hardens you, and makes you a better player.

“I have to have the mindset of not regretting those things. I have those moments: ‘who would I be now if I hadn’t had those injuries?’

“There’s a right way to think, and a wrong way to think. You have to practise, it’s a skill, to think properly.

“I just really didn’t want to rush. The hardest part for me (of being injured) has been actually watching the games.”