MELBOURNE (Reuters) – A serious knee injury cost Robbie Kruse a World Cup place earlier this year but the Bayer Leverkusen forward grafted through some heavy rehabilitation to ensure he didn’t miss out on next month’s Asian Cup on home soil.
The 26-year-old tore his anterior cruciate ligament in January and was forced to watch from afar as the Socceroos lost to Spain, Netherlands and Chile in Brazil.
Kruse acknowledged nothing would make up for missing out on a first World Cup but added the carrot of competing at a home Asian Cup kept him going as he battled back to full fitness.
“My rehab went for about seven or eight months… this tournament I was working towards the whole time,” Kruse told reporters on Tuesday. “I was at rehab for seven, eight hours a day and I’ve never had to work that long in my life.
“I can’t right the wrong of not being able to go to the World Cup. You go through so many emotions when you miss out on a big tournament like a World Cup and I’m thankful that this has come around just six months later.
“Hopefully this Asian Cup I can really stamp my authority on the competition.”