Former Cardiff City left-back Joe Bennett has revealed he is still training with the Bluebirds ahead of the new season, despite being released by the club earlier in the summer.
The 31-year-old has been a regular player at the Cardiff City Stadium both in the Championship and for a season in the Premier League since joining from Aston Villa in 2016, with the left-back not receiving many first-team opportunities in the West Midlands before his move.
However, he suffered a major blow in March when it was revealed he had suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury in his side’s Championship clash against Derby County, keeping him out the rest of the season.
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And with his previous deal coming to an end in the summer, the Welsh side took the decision not to renew his contract when they released their official retained list at the start of last month, leaving the left-back free to find another club.
But in a fresh development this afternoon, the 31-year-old released pictures of him back in training with Mick McCarthy’s side on Instagram, possibly signalling a potential return to Cardiff for the Englishman if he can continue his recovery from the severe injury he sustained four months ago.
He captioned these latest pictures by saying: “Pure graft to get to this point. So happy to be back involved in some training today.”
Considering the severity of an anterior cruciate ligament injury, it’s surprising to see the 31-year-old back out on the grass already but it could potentially boost his hopes of Cardiff City making a U-turn and offering him a new deal.
But a decision by Mick McCarthy on his potential return could be influenced by where Ryan Giles plays next term. The Wolverhampton Wanderers loanee, who joined the club just over a fortnight ago, can play at full-back and on the wing. In the end, his versatility could provide Bennett with a fresh start with the Bluebirds.
What McCarthy decides to do with teenager Joel Bagan could also be a key factor in this decision, because the Irishman may decide the 19-year-old would benefit more from playing regularly than staying with Cardiff’s first team.
If he’s made available for a loan deal, a new left-back will be needed and with Bennett already back in training and settled in the Welsh capital, who would do a better job than the 31-year-old if he returns?