Burnley defender James Tarkowski ready to return to Premier League action after second hernia operation
Clarets defender James Tarkowski is feeling bulletproof after a second hernia operation was deemed a success.
The 26-year-old has been given a clean bill of health and confirmed he was back in the fold ahead of the Premier League trip to Selhurst Park to take on Crystal Palace.
The England international, who first had surgery in the summer ahead of the World Cup in Russia, played in an inter-squad friendly at the Barnfield Training Centre on Tuesday to step up his recovery having missed games against Leicester City and Newcastle United.
"I’ve been back outside for a couple of weeks now, but I’ve been taking it slowly," he said. "There’s no point rushing it.
"I’ve spent enough time struggling with it, more than a year now, so it was more about getting things right, rather than getting a quick operation and rushing back for the first game.
"I’m back in training now, so it’s up to the manager to decide if he wants me back in the squad now or if he wants me to wait longer.
"I've not rushed myself back so it's been good to build up a bit of fitness that I'd probably lost.
"I'm feeling like I'm bulletproof so I can get out there and push my body to the limit, which is how it needs to be in the Premier League. I'm looking forward to the games coming up and hopefully being a part of that.
"I feel really good. The physios have been working really hard, and it’s probably the best I’ve felt for a while."
Tarkowski revealed that he had been pushing his luck for some time now. The central defender has been playing through the pain barrier for around 12 months but, as soon as he felt his performances were being compromised, he knew it was time to act.
The former Brentford man suggested that the torment was both physical and mental, with the discomfort weighing heavily on his mind. However, he's now looking forward to getting back playing without any distractions or disadvantages.
"It sort of went away in the summer for a little bit, and then with the amount of games we had early on and then just a mixture of things didn’t help," said Tarkowski.
"So I felt I finally had to get it sorted. It’s never nice playing with an injury, and to be fair, a lot of lads do play through them, which I did for so long, but in the end, I just felt as if it was hindering me a little bit on a matchday. I’m finally glad to get over it.
"The first one I had when I left the England camp. That was in the summer, so I had a bit more time to recover and get back to full fitness.
"I think I had about three or four weeks before pre-season, so it was about six weeks before the first game. I felt really good. It wasn’t really hindering me in the early part of the season.
"I felt I was doing really well, and that I had full power in both legs, and then it just came back out of nowhere, and it hindered me for the last couple of months."
He added: "I went to the manager and told them that I thought I needed to get something done.
"You can’t play in the Premier League with something that’s hindering you so much, because you’ll get caught out, which I did once or twice.
"So I thought that I needed to get it sorted out, so I could get back to full fitness and show everyone what I can do and be helpful for the team.
"If I felt that I wasn’t hindering myself or the team, then I would have carried on. It wasn’t so much a pain that was excruciating.
"It wasn’t one where I couldn’t walk as I was leaving the pitch. It just held me back on a couple of things that are quite important in football: running at speed and being able to use both feet, which I couldn’t so.
"So at some point, it was going to catch me out. Which it did. So I had to get something done, and it’s the best I’ve felt for a long while."