Keiran Evans admits he is delighted to have put his long-running injury struggles behind him after enjoying a regular run in the Swansea City Under-23s side this season.
The attacking midfielder, who has been with the Swans since he was six years old, missed most of the 2017-18 season due to ongoing injury problems that resulted in him having two bones removed from his foot.
Evans subsequently had to watch from the sidelines as the under-23s secured an impressive fourth-place finish in their debut Premier League 2 Division One campaign, while they also reached a second consecutive Premier League Cup final.
A torn hamstring meant he then missed the opening seven weeks of this term.
However, the Morriston-born midfielder recovered to make 21 appearances for the development side in all competitions, scoring two goals.
The 20-year-old admits that recent times have provided a test of his mental strength but was pleased to see his hard work in rehabilitation pay dividends.
And, having triggered a contract extension that will keep him with the Swans for a further 12 months, he is hoping to kick on again next season.
“I’ve had quite a hard couple of years with injuries,” he said.
“There were days when I didn’t want to be coming in to do rehab while the other boys were out training.
“But I managed to keep my spirits high and the physios were great with me.
“Apart from the little injury I had at the start of the season, this has been my first lengthy run in the side without having any problems.
“It’s very satisfying because I put so much hard work into my rehab. It’s paid off because I’ve had a good run of games.
“I always want to push for more minutes, but this is a good start and, hopefully, I can build on it next year.”