Andrew Nabbout is ready to represent the Socceroos at next week's Asian Cup after a long road to recovery following the injury he suffered at the World Cup.
The 26-year-old dislocated his shoulder during Australia's 1-1 draw against Denmark in Russia and was expected to be out for at least six months.
But through hard work and determination, Nabbout managed to get himself back on the bench for J-League side Urawa Red Diamonds after only three months and made six appearances through the back end of the season.
"It [returning from his shoulder injury] took a lot of work, to be honest. I cut my recovery time in half which meant that it was going to require a lot of work to be ready for this Asian Cup," Nabbout said.
"But I had something to look forward to, I had a goal, and I never once thought in my mind that I wouldn’t be ready for this tournament.
"I put that in my head and I did my rehab three times a day until I was ready to come back onto the pitch and then when I was on the pitch I was training twice a day to get fit again. It was a lot of hard work, but it challenged me mentally which was good.
"I hadn’t had an injury like that, this has been my longest lay-off, so it was good to get that mental test and now I am back, and I am ready."
The Socceroos begin their Asian Cup title defence against Jordan on January 6, but first have a warm-up match versus Oman on December 30.
Nabbout spoke of how important the friendly will be as the players get together in the UAE for the month-long tournament.
"It’s [the Oman game] going to be huge for us. It’s going to be good for the boys to get minutes in the legs before the tournament starts and it will be good to test ourselves against an opposition team that is going to be in the [AFC Asian] Cup," he said.
"Whether we will face them or not I am not sure, but it is going to be good to come up against a team that is going to be in the tournament as well."