Back in the groove

Wednesday 17 July 2002

Looking out over the training pitch and seeing Chris Coleman partaking in a session is a sight that many people thought they might never see again.

After being out on the sidelines for an incredible 17 months, you can start to comprehend the immensity of the injuries Coleman sustained on that fateful day in January.

A staggering fact that doesn't fully register is that Coleman is now taking part in his first pre-season training since the summer of 2000, so getting back into the old routine is a welcome change.

Whilst his team-mates were either at the World Cup or enjoying their holidays, Coleman managed to take a quick break before completing the final stages of his rehabilitation work.

"I had a few weeks off and took a nice break with my wife," said Coleman. "It was our tenth anniversary so we went away. Then Rufus Brevett, Lee Clark and I went to France for some rehab. It was the same place I went to last year.

"I'm now in the best shape I've been in since the accident. My fitness is very good and my leg's a lot better. I don't know whether or not it's going to be enough to get back into the first team. But that's what I'm going to be aiming for and we'll see how close I am at the end of pre-season.

"For me to get back to what I would call full fitness, my leg would have to be 100%. It's probably never going to be the same as before the accident but it's just a matter to getting it to the best level possible."

Watching the last two Intertoto Cup matches from the sidelines, Coleman was able to make a few observations about the team's performances.

"We've got to be more ruthless in front of goal and as a team. We never looked in trouble at the back.

"The key for us is match practice more than fitness, you can do as much running as you like but it's games that makes the difference. We've had a few practice matches but until we get more competitive matches under our belts, we won't be firing on all cylinders."