Kim Little talks about recovering from injury ahead of Switzerland clash
In the lead-up to Scotland’s first major championships, Euro 2017, they were dealt blow when key midfielder Kim Little was ruled out for a year with an ACL injury.
The determined midfielder has worked her way back to full fitness however, and has already marked her return for Arsenal with a trophy.
The Continental Cup winner is now eager to pull on the Scotland jersey once again and push Scotland to another major championships.
Kim, first of all, welcome back. It must feel good to be back in the squad after a long lay-off?
Yes, it’s nice to be back in a new set up having not been in the squad for over a year now. A lot of things have changed, the personnel and staff for example, but I’m looking forward to finding out more about how things are going, especially coming into the squad when it has been so settled.
Were you in contact with Shelley Kerr during your injury lay-off?
Yes, she came down to watch some of Arsenal’s games when I was out injured and called me now and again to see how I was progressing.
It’s all been casual but it’s been constant – waiting until the point where I have been ready to come in and compete, fully match fit to play. I am definitely there now.
What has it been like to come into the squad with a new coach? That’s not something you have experienced before with Scotland.
As long as I have been in the squad it was Anna who was in charge. So it’s been new and refreshing. Change, I always think, is good, so I am looking forward to working with new people and taking the squad forward.
What was it like for you not being involved at the Euros?
I got injured a couple of months before and instantly I knew I wasn’t going to be able to play because of the length of my injury.
I was a little bit upset initially but after that I had a really positive mind-set with my injury and really enjoyed the rehab.
I didn’t really think too much about what I was missing out on. It was never a point where I thought I was missing the Euros or missing games with my club. I just went with the process and stayed in the present, which I think helped me a lot. I’m now delighted to be back and am looking forward, hoping to help us to another major championship.
What was it like being over there working as a pundit on TV rather than as a player?
It was unusual I suppose, but it was an opportunity that came from something unfortunate, so that was nice.
I really enjoyed my time over there. I loved Utrecht where I was based and it was fun to do something different – to work with other people and see the game from a different side than I’m used to.
Normally I’m so involved with playing and I am closed off to everything else.
So going through the rehab process gave me opportunities I wouldn’t otherwise have got.
That’s the sort of mind-set I had all the way through it. It’s been an educational one and enjoyable one.
Jen Beattie and Emma Mitchell also missed out on the Euros through injury. Jen pinpointed you as being a tower of strength for her in that process. Did having teammates miss out help you deal with the disappointment?
It probably helped each of us in a different way. We are three players who have grown up together and are quite a similar age.
Emma obviously got injured first and hers was touch and go for the Euros. When I ruptured my ACL she said ‘I don’t feel so bad now.’ So in a weird way it was a little bit comforting, though we would have wanted each other to be there.
Emma was at Arsenal with me so we helped each other a lot through rehab. We were immobile for six weeks each and to have someone there who knew what it felt like, really helped me a lot.
What’s it been like pulling on the boots again after such a long time out?
My rehab went really well. Everything went to plan, if not a little sooner than was initially planned. That’s how they generally do the rehab – they set out a timescale and factor in setbacks.
Mine was generally pretty smooth. I’ve been back playing since mid-February and building up minutes. I’ve played three 90 minutes now.
Being back at Arsenal and winning the Continental Cup final, that must have been great for your confidence?
I love playing in the big games as it’s more competitive, so it was good for my mind-set because it’s more competitive and more physical against the top teams.
It’s nice to be back playing and being under a little pressure to perform, which I’ve not had for ten months.
You couldn’t have come in at a more important time with these two games?
I’m sure any footballer would say that these are the competitive matches you want to play in. I came back and played in a cup final and these are the sort of matches I thrive on. I’m looking forward to it.