JUST weeks after he almost lost his life in a freak training ground incident with the Republic of Ireland senior team, Shane Duffy says he's delighted to be back in training with Everton and looking forward to the start of the new season.
Teenager Duffy made headlines in May when he suffered a laceration to his liver during a training match with the Irish senior team, and FAI medical staff admitted that the Derry native almost died because of the serious nature of the injury.
But Duffy is already back in light training with Everton and he's relieved to have ended the boredom of his rehab programme, having spent his time recently watching the World Cup on TV and also catching up with hometown club Derry City. "I'm just happy to be back training again," says Duffy.
"It was nice to get a rest and watch the World Cup finals in South Africa on television and take in some local football while I was back in Derry. It was nice for a while, but I was really getting really bored to be honest.
"But time seems to have flown since I returned to Liverpool. I've been back since Wednesday last week and I'm enjoying training again.
"I went on a long run last Monday which I found hard enough and I'm doing sprints now which is good.
"I'm well rested and feeling much better. The medical staff here at Everton say I'll could be back in training in the next four to six weeks.
"I won't be back in full training for another few weeks yet, I'm just concentrating on getting my fitness back at the minute, that's my first aim.
"I'll then start looking at playing a couple of matches with the Reserves and maybe then get a loan move for the rest of the season, so we'll see how things go. That's what I'm hoping for now anyway.
"It was a crazy time, a crazy week," he said, referring to that incident in Malahide in May. "I'm just grateful to everyone in the (Mater) hospital for everything they did for me."
Duffy made two first-team appearances for Everton last season and was picked as the reserve team's player of the year. He has also recently signed a new long-term contract with David Moyes' club.