Ki's fighting fit
14th September 2016
After spending a month of his summer holiday training as a soldier, Ki Sung-Yueng is fighting fit again.
The Swans midfielder spent four weeks completing mandatory military service in the Korean army in June, which included teaching him to deal with chemical attacks from enemies along with weapon training and physical tests.
His service meant Ki missed the Swans' entire pre-season programme along with the opening Premier League game at Burnley.
The 27-year-old made his first appearance of the campaign in the home defeat to Hull, before playing the full 90 minutes during the comfortable EFL Cup victory at Peterborough.
Another appearance off the bench came at Leicester City, while Ki's first Premier League start of the campaign came in last weekend's entertaining draw with Chelsea at the Liberty.
And the South Korean captain believes his match fitness is back to where it needs to be.
"For a month I wasn't a footballer, I was a soldier," said Ki. "It was a totally different kind of training in the military. I can't say it has helped my fitness because it is totally different.
"I had a lack of match fitness when I returned as I hadn't done any pre-season, so it was tough getting back into the football side of things.
"I have had to build my match sharpness and fitness up, which obviously comes with training and playing in games.
"I went away with the national team recently for important qualifying matches and my body wasn't in 100 per cent physical condition, but I am the captain so I had to lead my country.
"But playing the full game against Chelsea was a good step forward for me. I can feel my body is getting stronger and stronger. I am almost where I need to be."
The Swans' focus now turns to Sunday's trip to St Mary's, where they will face a Southampton side seeking their first win of the Premier League campaign.
It comes on the back of a 2-2 draw with Chelsea, and Ki believes Francesco Guidolin's side have gained confidence from that point and performance.
"We deserved a point from the game because we really improved in the second half against Chelsea," he added.
"It was a busy second half, and aside from the goals we also created further chances.
"It's a very useful point, and we can go into Sunday's game against Southampton with confidence, although we know it will be a tough game.
"When the boys are on it, we can challenge the best in this league. Everyone has to be at their best, and that is the challenge for us."
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