Burnley midfielder Ashley Westwood itching to get back fit and play his part in exciting new era under Vincent Kompany
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The 32-year-old suffered a fracture and dislocation of his ankle in the 1-1 draw at West Ham on Easter Sunday, in Mike Jackson’s first game as interim boss, two days after the surprise departure of Sean Dyche.
He would sit out the rest of the season, although he was determined to do anything he could to help in the battle against relegation, with Jackson admitting: "Obviously he's got his injury and he’s joined our club in the ‘Bat Cave’. He’s watching the analysis, watching games, so he’s another one swinging from the ceiling in there with us for three or four hours at a time.
"He’s got great experience as a player, good knowledge, he is a good midfield player and will have different insight into what midfielders see so that only helps us. He’ll be in with us watching games, discussing as a group what we see. We get his input from how a midfielder sees the game.
“Credit to him, that shows his character. He could sit at home now but he’s not, he’s thinking 'how can I help?'”
A few weeks down the line, Westwood is now focusing on getting fully fit and trying to help the club back into the Premier League, under Kompany.
The former Aston Villa man said: “I’m getting there. The boot’s off now and the crutches are gone, so I’m slowly getting there.
"I’m walking and I kicked a ball yesterday.
“Nick [McCarthy, physio] has been in with me all summer, so I’m on the right track.
"I’ve just not got the full range of motion yet, so that’s hauled me back a little bit. We’re getting there though, it’s a long old road.”
While his teammates had some time off over summer, Westwood has been putting in the work on the road back to recovery: “It’s similar to what we’ve been doing really. Hands-on treatment, in early, and I’ve joined in with a lot of the testing because I’ve been able to do that.
“The main difference is not being out on the pitch, which is killing me, but we’ll get there.
“I’m still seeing the lads and joining in with the pre-hab side of things as well.
"I’m getting integrated as well with the new lads.
"When you’re on your own, it’s hard, but having the lads around you gives you that bit of a lift to get you through some bad days.
“Me and Nick are working a lot together every day and over the summer, it was tough.
"When me and him are in on our own trying to do stuff, you don’t quite see the process because we’re pushing ourselves every time.
“Obviously, when the lads have come back and the staff have come back, saying stuff like ‘Westy, you’re walking well!’, it gives you a bit of a boost.
“It’s nice to hear and it’s just unfortunate that I’m missing out on pre-season because it’s a really exciting time, the lads are buzzing.”
His family have also played a big role in keeping his spirits up: “The missus has been brilliant. When I first did it, I was in bed for what must’ve been a week.
"She was doing the kids’ school run then coming back and making sure that I was alright throughout the day.
“I don’t want to give her the credit, but she’s been excellent! Having your family around you definitely keeps you going.”
And he can’t wait to get going under Kompany, who he has come up against a number of times, and heard good things about from a former teammate of both: “I played against him for most of my career, so I know what kind of guy he is.
"He’s a top guy and you hear a lot of good things about him, Joe Hart spoke well about him too.
“Since he’s come in with his staff, everything’s been spot on. The lads come in from training and say how good it is, how exciting it is.
“I’ve been doing a bit of work with the academy staff, and he’s already been up there to have a look at the academy setup.
“It’s definitely exciting times and hopefully I can be a part of that [on the pitch] in the very near future."