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Chelsea outcast Van Ginkel makes first senior appearance since 2018 after injury hell

3:42 PM IST 14/01/21
Marco van Ginkel PSV 05062018
The Dutch midfielder returned to the pitch after 32 months out of action during PSV's latest Eredivisie outing

Chelsea outcast Marco van Ginkel has made his first senior appearance since 2018 after coming through an injury hell which threatened to bring his career to a premature end.

Van Ginkel was seen as one of the brightest young talents in European football when Chelsea snapped him up from Vitesse for a reported £8 million eight years ago.

Unfortunately, the Dutchman has only featured in four senior matches for the Blues since then, with his last run out for the club coming in 2014 - when Jose Mourinho was still in charge at Stamford Bridge.

Van Ginkel was held back by a string of serious injuries at Chelsea, who sent him out on loan to AC Milan, Stoke City and PSV in the hope that a change of environment could aid his development.

The 28-year-old is currently in the middle of his third loan spell at the Philips Stadion in Eindhoven, but he has spent the last 32 months on the sidelines recovering from surgery to rebuild the ligaments in his knee.

The Blues loanee, whose current contract at the Bridge is due to expire at the end of the season, finally made his long-awaited return to the pitch on Wednesday, coming off the bench during PSV's 3-1 home defeat to AZ.

Van Ginkel expressed his delight after the final whistle, telling NOS: "It's been a long time, so I'm proud of my first minutes. I was out for so long, been through a lot, had a lot of surgeries. No football, so I'm excited to be finally back.

"Of course it was a very difficult time. I have had a lot of positive moments, but perhaps even more negative ones. It has been really hard, both emotionally and mentally. There was a lot going on in my head.

"Therefore it's great to be back on the pitch, even though it's only for a few minutes and with a disappointing loss as a team.

"I'm sure my family is delighted too. They have been so supportive. Unfortunately, they couldn't be in the stadium today due to the circumstances. But I'm sure everybody was watching the game on the television, as they did last week against Ajax (when he was in the team selection for the first time).

"My moment didn't come back then, so I'm glad it happened today. My cell phone was already full of messages. It's great to feel so much support. Now we have to see what's next.

"I've been in full training for 2 or 3 weeks now and didn't miss a single exercise. I don't know if I'll be able to play a full match anytime soon, but I'm longing for more after these few minutes.

"I'll continue to work hard to make it possible, but now I'll probably have a drink with my girlfriend to celebrate this moment.

"My return is a big reward for my dedication. I'm finally a football player again. Great."

The midfielder could be in line to feature again when PSV take in a trip to Sparta Rotterdam on Saturday, with Roger Schmidt's side currently sitting fourth in the Eredivisie standings.