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Leonard reaping the rewards of hard graft

The midfielder speaks...

27 July 2021

For a professional footballer, the off-season is usually a time to spend and enjoy with family at home - but for Ryan Leonard, Calmont Road was the midfielder's most-visited destination.

The versatile midfielder - often deployed at centre-half or right-back - suffered an injury which curtailed his 2020/21 campaign early in the new year, meaning that the long road to recovery stretched into the summer break.

The 29-year-old has featured in two of Millwall's 2021/22 pre-season friendlies, however, and is now ready for a return to first-team action as The Lions get set for the Sky Bet Championship opener at Queens Park Rangers on Saturday 7th August.

"It's nice to be back out there," Leonard told after last weekend's friendly against Arsenal. "It's nice to get some minutes that aren't on the training pitch.

"[The recovery] has been difficult, especially throughout the summer when everyone is having time off with their families. I was in most days, but it's all worth it to get myself fit and back out there for the first few games. It's just all about being mentally strong - doing the gym sessions, the bike sessions that you can.

"I don't feel unfit, I feel sharp, I feel good, so that's credit to physio department and those who have stuck with me throughout.

"That first game is the big one, everyone wants to be involved. It's going to be a good game, a London derby to start - we've not had the best record at QPR over the years, so if we can put that right then that will be a great start to the season."

Click play on the video above to hear in full from Ryan Leonard.

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