Rolando Aarons is looking to make up for lost time at Newcastle United – after putting in the hours over the summer.
Aarons ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament in a training session late last year.
The talented winger returned to the training field late last season.
And Aarons – whose career has been stalled by a series of injuries – is now fully fit after a summer of gym work.
The England Under-20 international’s looking forward to returning to action in the club’s pre-season campaign.
Aarons said: “I’ve been doing a bit off-season to get me ready for pre-season.
“It’s been quite a busy period.
“It’s my ACL. I’ve had to strengthen my knee.
“I’ve been working hard in the gym over the summer. I didn’t want to slow down in the eight weeks we had off.
“I feel good. I feel strong.”
Aarons and his team-mates reported back for the start of pre-season on Monday.
“It’s been good to see the boys again and get into that team mode again, because I was doing a lot of work by myself,” said the 21-year-old, who signed a new long-term contract last year.
“It’s been good to be around the boys.
“The boys are excited for the Premier League. You can see it around the training ground.”
Newcastle kick off their warm-up programme with a game against Scottish Premiership side Heart of Midlothian at Tynecastle on July 14.
The game is followed by a short training camp in Ireland.
Asked about his hopes for the club’s pre-season campaign, Aarons said: “I’m looking to establish myself, play every game and take that into the season.
“I’m not really worried about last year, just focusing on this season.”
Benitez is looking to sign another winger this summer.
But Aarons isn’t fazed by the prospect of more competition at the club.
“You always have competition at a club like this, and this season’s no different,” Aarons told NUFC TV.
“It’ll bring the best out of me.”
Aarons joined United in 2012 after leaving Bristol City.