After a long fight with a frustrating injury, Kerala Blasters midfielder Mario Arques is finally relieved to be fit and is raring to be a part of the Yellow Army on the field.
Arques was injured when he signed for the team in the summer, as revealed by his head coach Eelco Schattorie earlier this season. He seemed to have recovered in time to come off the bench in the 65th minute of the season opener against ATK but had to be stretchered off 25 minutes later. After weeks of rehabilitation that has seen him miss six games, the former Jamshedpur FC midfielder looks set to be back in action.
In a chat with Goal, the Spaniard said, "I am feeling much better. I am working very hard to come back. I am training and I am happy now. We have a few days until the next game so we will see how it goes. But I am training and that's the most important thing."
"I played (in the first match) and I was unlucky as I got injured again. This is football, we can't control that. I had pain in the pre-season but nothing that important."
Arques has had to cheer the team on from the stands but it hasn't been smooth-sailing for Eelco and co. Blasters are without a win in six matches and have six points from seven matches so far. Injuries to key players, especially in defence, has denied the Dutch coach the option to select a full-strength lineup.
"I only want to be on the field. It is not easy to watch from the outside, I want to help. The team is playing well now, I am proud of the players because it is not easy to play like this with several injuries.
"It is not easy to start with a lot of new players. Now we know each other better and we are doing better. We are playing a style of football, that for me, is very good and we believe in the coach's ideas," the Spaniard said.
In Arques' absence, 18-year-old Jeakson Singh has played a lot more than he would have expected to feature at the start of the season, although they are not footballers of the same mould. Additionally, Sergio Cidoncha has had to drop deeper to fill in for his teammate so far.
"The competition for places is important. When I arrived, I saw Jeakson and Sahal and I knew they were going to do well. This is good, with the injures, all the players have had to step up. They are showing that they can play."
Despite the frustrating start at his new club, Arques feels he made the right choice to leave Jamshedpur. "I am grateful to Jamshedpur for opening the doors to India. Like all players, they want to take the step forward. I wanted to come to Kerala for the club and the fans."