Vine has been out of action for almost a year following the double fracture to his fibula and tibia suffered at the hands of American loan goalkeeper, Matt Pickens, at the Harlington training ground last spring.
After six months, Vine discovered that his tibia was not healing and that he would need further surgery. At one stage, Rangers fans debated whether this setback was career threatening; but in recent weeks, Vine has received the news that he, and all Rangers fans, hoped and prayed for – his bones have fully healed and he can resume full training.
And yesterday was the big day! Vine ran out with the rest of the First Team squad for a training session at Loftus Road and afterwards he spoke to QPR.co.uk and explained just what today meant to him.
Of course, typically for the iconic striker, his “big day” was meant to be on Monday – but a little matter of a heavy snowfall put paid to that, although he denied that he was “the unluckiest man in football!” He did amit that, in fact, he had been at the training ground these past couple of days: “I knew that training was going to be off. I`ve done my own training, I`ve still been in,”he said.
Vine likened being back training with the squad as “like the first day of school!
“I didn`t know the full extent – if I`d be able to do everything. The way the session`s gone, I`ve been able to do most of it and like I say, it`s been brilliant being out there.
“Double bonus – coz we`re at the ground, so I`m back out on the pitch as well. Hopefully, I can just stay injury free and get through the little niggles and stuff, and get my sharpness back,” he added.
When asked if he ever doubted he would return to train with the Rs, Vine replied very positively: “No, I never thought I wouldn`t play again. It never entered my mind really. I think other people might have worried a little bit, there were a few whispers.
“It was just frustrating that it took that long but hopefully I`m through it now and I can just have a few more good days.”
Vine then discussed the differences and similarities he had noticed between his new gaffer, Paulo Sousa, and the gaffer he last played under, Luigi De Canio, when it came to training tactics and techniques.
“They are quite different (to the training Vine had previously experienced at other clubs) but not too dissimilar to the stuff Luigi De Canio was doing when he was here.
“A lot of the foreign stuff is the same. I`ve watched a lot of training; it`s been interesting to watch what Paulo`s been doing. I`ve been impressed with him from the day he came in so hopefully we will carry on going in the right way.”
Vine agreed that the players were very receptive to Sousa`s new ideas:
“There`s been a lot of change, and it`s testament to the lads that they can keep focused when the new man comes in and buy into his ideas. If you don`t there could be problems and I think the boys have got to grips with it and I think they are really enjoying it now.”
The timing of Vine`s return couldn`t be more perfect – just outside the playoffs with three months of the season left, and he could yet play his part in helping us to something very, very special.
“It`s brilliant – it`s a perfect situation to be in. We can have a real assault on the playoffs and see where it takes us.”
And just in case you were wondering how come our games against Cardiff and Swansea were cancelled – well, Vine revealed the truth:
“I`ve been trying to get a few games called off! I managed to get the Cardiff one called off. The one here (the Swansea game) would`ve been on, but I got involved and got that off! So hopefully that`s another two games in March and April that I can feature in!
“It`s brilliant to be involved at the right end of the table. I`m sure the boys are buzzing and we`ve started winning away from home, we couldn`t really be in a better position now so hopefully we can kick on.”
Of course, Vine was asked the ultimate question – just when would he back in action for the First Team? To which he replied:
“I`m just taking it day by day, but I’m hoping that I can be fit for the start of March. That`s what I`m aiming for.
“If I get any little niggles, obviously it`ll set me back. If I keep going the way I have been, and improving every day, then I think early March will be really nice for me!” It`ll be really nice for us, too!
Vine was so happy during the interview, joking and laughing, and obviously so happy to be back in full training. I don`t think the smile left his fact once!
And, on a personal note, you can all guess how happy I was to watch this interview and see Viney back with the lads on the Loftus Road pitch!!
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