Steven Pienaar: Tottenham injury woes have been ‘the most difficult period of my career’

The South African international has been passed fit for Thursday's Europa League clash, having only made 12 appearances for the White Hart Lane club since his January move

Tottenham midfielder Steven Pienaar has admitted his injury problems since moving to White Hart Lane has made his time in north London the most difficult of his career.

The South African international made the switch to Harry Redknapp’s side in January of this year from Everton, in a deal worth £3 million after rejecting the advances of Chelsea.

The 29-year-old has only made 12 appearances for Spurs following a groin problem that has hampered him since the end of last season, and whilst a number of other injuries have delayed his first-team return, Pienaar has now been passed fit to face Rubin Kazan in the Europa League on Thursday.

Speaking to reporters, Pienaar said: "It's been the most difficult period of my career. When you join a new team, you want to start fully fit but I got injured quite early and it slowed down my progress.

"Before the operation we thought we would wait and see how the groin injury developed but it just got worse.

"I had the operation, things were going well, but then I had two setbacks. Sometimes when you try to get back early, that happens.

"But I'm over the nightmare now so hopefully I can get some minutes."

With the places of Scott Parker, Gareth Bale and Luka Modric all looking infallible in the Spurs midfield, the former Ajax and Borussia Dortmund man faces a battle to claim a starting XI spot, a task which Pienaar insists he is prepared for.

"When you get injured, you fall down the pecking order. You are basically the bottom of the pile," he continued.

"But you have to make sure you get fit, be patient and work hard.

"I have been working hard and now I'll try to win a place in the team."