Josh Key | I feel I have come back in the best possible shape, I just want more

31st March
First team
Josh Key Sheffield Wednesday

Josh Key admits his spell on the sidelines was tough for him to take, but has just increased his desire to make the most of the end of his first season in Swansea City colours ahead of Monday’s game against Queens Park Rangers.

The defender made an impressive start to life in SA1 following his summer arrival from Exeter City, with the highlight being his clinching goal in October’s 3-1 win at Plymouth Argyle, before injury struck.

An ankle ligament injury kept him out for a month, before he then suffered a hamstring issue in the December win over Preston North End.

Key made substitute appearances against Bristol City and Cardiff City, before being handed the first start since his return in the Good Friday draw with Sheffield Wednesday.

Having to look on from the sidelines while unable to get the chance to fully showcase his ability to head coach Luke Williams has been a frustration for the full-back, but he is keen to make up for lost time.

“Starting again has felt like it has been a long time coming,” he said.

“I felt really good, I did a lot of work to get fit and I am looking to try and finish the season well.

“It hasn’t been an easy time, we have been adapting to a new style of play and I have been watching from the sides.

“It has still been exciting, because I watch and feel it will really suit me and that I can thrive in, but you obviously want to be out there. So, to have this chance has been great.

“I think everyone can see we are trying to build a way of playing that delivers exciting football. The gaffer challenges me all the time, in a way no other coach really has before, so I have really enjoyed it.

Josh Key Plymouth

“This club is renowned for playing really good football, and I have known it would take time for me to adapt to it. I think we are looking to continue that being back on home turf on Monday.

“Last time there was the derby, and it was an amazing day and an amazing game. We want to try and have another good performance in front of our fans and then make sure we take that on over this last run of games.

“For me, I know the season is nearly over, but it feels like it is almost starting again for me, so I am chomping at the bit to have more opportunities.”

Key believes he has returned in the best shape of his career, having put in extra work across his rehabilitation, but also revealed he took time to focus on his mental approach; something he feels has been – and will be – of considerable benefit to him moving forward.

“I really feel I have come back in great shape physically and mentally,” he said.

“I have done a lot of work on psychology, I think a lot of people say they will come back stronger when they are injured but it is not as easy as that.

“I have focused on my mind, and then strengthening my body as much as I can because this was my first ever muscle injury.

“But, specifically, I feel I have come back with a stronger mentality, and for the rest of this season and into next I really feel that will help me and the team.

“I used a sports psychologist, I have used one before, but it really allowed me to have that focus on getting involved again. It was a difficult time, it’s the longest I have been out in my career and I feel working on the mental side of things has put me in the best place.”