Southampton’s Mohamed Elyounoussi joined Celtic on a season-long loan deal in the summer and his decision to sign for the Scottish Premiership champions has paid off.
The Norway international has managed seven goals and six assists in all competitions, but his progress suffered a blow when he picked up an injury. He hasn’t featured for Celtic since their 1-0 victory over Rangers in December.
Prior to that, the forward had been struggling with a foot injury for a month and is now expected to return to the pitch after regaining full fitness.
Norway’s TV2 had an opportunity to interview the Southampton owned player and the 25-year-old spoke about his recovery from injury.
“I took a shot and the defender threw himself forward to block. He hit my foot, and since then [Celtic’s cup semi-final against Hibernian on November 2nd] I have been hurt,” he said.
“I barely managed to wear slippers, as it used to hurt… I was in such good shape at the time. I tried to bite my teeth together, but I’m glad I finally realised it wasn’t possible.”
“I’m not going to lie, it’s been tough. It’s been almost two months since I played. Then it was a cup final, which is difficult to say no to, but I was not ready for it at all.
“It came too soon. I have to take a good part of the blame for doing the damage there. But now I feel at least ready. I’ve missed football a lot.”
When asked if he had a fracture in his foot, the Celtic player explained: “Fortunately, there was no break. I got a kick, continued to play games and trained fully, and finally there was a stress reaction. Now, there was nothing special I was going to get, so it was possible to take a good time to come back.
“It’s been really tough. If I had experienced some injuries previously, it might have been easier to cope. But I have been frustrated, and maybe pushed too much, so that I have come back too soon.
“All that is behind me now, the only thing I can do is learn from it. The injuries I have received have been difficult to avoid. It has mostly been kicks or contacts that have caused it. My style of play is about challenging. Training has never been a problem, I can tolerate everything.”
Elyounoussi’s contract at Southampton expires in 2023, but he has admitted the need to give thought to his future beyond this season.
“I still get messages from the assistant coach and the physical therapists there. They ask how things are going and keep an eye on me. I enjoy Celtic, it’s a fantastic big and nice club,” the winger stressed.
“I have to think about the future as it approaches summer. Now it’s all about getting back into shape. I think more about the here and now than the future.”