Jamaal Lascelles is already back in training at Newcastle United – as he battles to be ready for the start of pre-season.
Lascelles had a double hernia operation late last term.
And the defender – who captained Rafa Bentiez's side in the Championship – returned for pre-season training two weeks early.
Lascelles worked through the summer on his recovery.
The 23-year-old – who played through the pain barrier in the second half of last season – wants to "lead by example" as the club prepares for its return to the Premier League.
“I've not really been able to have time off," Lascelles told the club's official website.
"The first three weeks after my operation, I was only walking, and after that I was light jogging.
“I had been given a programme to do, and so I've just stuck to that. I went away on holiday with my family to Barbados, and was still doing my programme there.
“It has just been ticking over, and now I’m getting back in getting the hard stuff out of the way.
“Everyone knows about the operation I had, so I just thought I should come in and get some extra training in.
“The Premier League is a completely different level and standard, so I just want to make sure that I’m ready and want to be leading by example.
“It's been fine, and it’s nice to be able to run, or even just get out of bed, without the pain.
“I have been working hard with the physio, and it’s nice to be getting back to feeling myself again. Now I'm looking forward to getting started.
“This is more than a head start, it is about making sure that I’m fine because my conditioning wasn’t right before, as I wasn’t able to sprint properly and it takes it out of you.
“I think you play how you train, so I just want to make sure I'm above myself for when we start back.”
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