Julien De Sart gradually back to his old self after a difficult period: “Sometimes I wondered how the hell I could play” (Ghent)

“The internship in Spain went well”, says a beaming Julien De Sart. The injury that plagued him for more than seven months seems to be completely over. “That internship was of course very important to me to lay a good conditional foundation after all those months full of injuries. It was heavy though. Now I feel 100 percent. I think I am ready to start against Cercle Brugge and I am already close to my best level.”

Hein Vanhaezebrouck also sounds very enthusiastic about the return of his favorite regulator in midfield, which he even mentions together with Tarik Tissoudali when it comes to strongholds from the previous season. Nevertheless, the Ghent coach is still cautious. “If you’ve been out for a while, it sometimes takes a while to get back to your best level. Some days it is still a bit difficult, but that only improves by gathering minutes. I am therefore not going to get ahead of the facts.”

After a first operation – shortly after the competition – De Sart thought he had already been relieved of a lingering pubalgia. “We thought that the operation on the abdominal muscles would suffice, but unfortunately the adductors turned out to be the biggest problem. I played with pain last season. It started in September and I often received an injection. Sometimes during the warm-up I wondered how the hell I could play. That was not easy.”

Ultimately, a second operation was necessary. “That wasn’t easy”, the amiable native of Liège sighs. “I think I wasn’t always the most pleasant person at home then. Football is in my blood. Luckily I had my son and wife, who is always very positive. That certainly helped me during those difficult weeks.”

“The most difficult moments came with that second operation. Especially since I was not immediately pain free afterwards. Now I feel liberated, although I sometimes still experience some pain”, said De Sart, who feared a new serious injury after the match at Union. “It was actually just my scar that was a little torn and in the end it turned out to be not too bad. As a result, I was able to train again after a week.”

Work even harder

However, there is no apparent reason for that injury. “I also had some problems in Kortrijk. So it wasn’t completely new. Now I just need to warm up a bit more. I’m 27, then you know your body. It was also the first time that I had been injured for so long, at my age it took some getting used to. I just have to listen to my body now. Normally it will also go better when it gets warmer.”

“A transfer to Spain then? (laughs) I also feel fine in Belgium”, chuckles De Sart, who wants to regain his starting place as soon as possible. Yet he does not expect preferential treatment. “Last season is over, isn’t it? You have to prove yourself again. I want to gather my playing minutes and be important for the team. I want everyone to be able to count on me.”

They do the same with the Buffalos. It is not for nothing that Hein Vanhaezebrouck calls De Sart one of the key players of his team. “If the coach says so. (laughs) I felt good last year of course and played all the important matches. Now it’s a new season though and you know it’s going fast. In all directions. That statement gives me confidence, but I realize that I will have to work even harder, because the expectations are even higher.”

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