Birmingham City have revealed midfielder Maikel Kieftenbeld has stepped up his recovery from injury by training on grass at Wast Hills.
The club shared the images of the Dutchman on Wednesday afternoon as he continues his rehabilitation from the anterior cruciate ligament damage suffered during the Blues’ victory over Leeds in early April.
????????♂️ Look who’s walking…
Maikel Kieftenbeld is off his crutches and back at Wast Hills as he continues his rehabilitation from a serious knee injury.
— Birmingham City FC (@BCFC) July 3, 2019
Kieftenbeld was originally ruled out for six to nine months when he was diagnosed with the injury, but this update suggests his long recovery is firmly on track.
There has been much change at St Andrew’s since Kieftenbeld last featured for the Blues. The club secured their safety in the Championship for another season, but since then manager Garry Monk and key men Che Adams, Jota and Michael Morrison have all departed.
With the whole club seemingly in a state of flux, Kieftenbeld may well be pondering what the future holds for him while he works to regain fitness in the off-season.
But it does look as though the 29-year-old will not feature in the current fire sale at St Andrew’s, as his injury troubles mean he should not be attracting much interest from rival clubs this summer.
This means Kieftenbeld is set to be a key player when he does eventually return from the sidelines. This is particularly the case with the Birmingham squad looking thin on the ground as a result of recent departures and a notable lack of incomings.
The timeframe on Kieftenbeld’s injury means he is scheduled to feature for the Blues before the end of 2019, but Birmingham fans will be naturally eager to see one of their favourites back playing sooner.
The Dutchman himself has also developed an affinity with the Blues during his four years in the Midlands, which would have intensified after the club triggered an contract extension until 2021 following the injury.
The midfielder should therefore want to repay the club for the belief shown, and he will be becoming increasingly aware of his significance to the side with key figureheads such as Adams and Morrison departing.
He will therefore be keen to offer his assistance on the pitch as a relegation battle potentially looms for the club, but it is vitally important that Kieftenbeld and the club themselves do not rush the recovery.
At the age of 29, Kieftenbeld is entering his peak years as a central midfielder and he cannot afford to risk his fitness by rushing to support Birmingham’s efforts next season.
The Blues should prepare for his absence by ensuring they are well-stocked in midfield this summer, and Kieftenbeld must take the time to fully recover and only contribute for the Blues when he is definitely ready. His record at the club means there will still be a place in the side waiting for him.