Leicester Mercury

Ricardo ‘back in six weeks’


- By JORDAN BLACKWELL jordan.blackwell@reachplc.com @jrdnblackw­ell

RICARDO Pereira’s long-awaited Leicester City return will be “within six weeks”, the right-back has estimated.

It has been seven months since the Portuguese star damaged knee ligaments in City’s 4-0 win against Aston Villa.

While there were suggestion­s of a late October return, manager Brendan Rodgers said last week he was “way off”, and it seems the 27-year-old is more likely to play his comeback game in early December.

Ricardo is training on the grass again at Belvoir Drive and expects he will join his team-mates for group sessions in the next fortnight.

Then it’s a case of building his match fitness following the most serious injury of his career. “It’s on a good level,” Ricardo told Portuguese outlet O Jogo. “I’m doing individual work and I already do the warm-up with the team, but for now I’m still progressin­g individual­ly, and then I will gradually move on to collective work.

“It’s still a bit early to talk about it (a return date). I begin working with the team in two weeks and from then on, I will need to gain the competitiv­e pace and the necessary confidence.

“It will depend, but I believe within six weeks. As I’ve never been through any of this, I’m not sure of the deadlines, but I believe it will be around this, if all goes well.”

Although there is still a period of patience required for Ricardo, he is feeling much better now than when he first had surgery and was stuck at home amid a pandemic, nursing a painful knee.

“It’s easier now, no doubt,” he said. “At first it was more complicate­d, especially post-surgery, because I was in pain, and I was on crutches and needed help with just about everything at home.

“Add to that the fact that we are in quarantine due to the pandemic.

“Those were very complicate­d times, but now it’s a lot easier, especially since I started running and doing ball work.

“These are always more interestin­g tasks and we know that we are close to playing and training again.

“This makes it much easier than when it was just gym work.”

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 ?? MIKE EGERTON/PA ?? GREAT TACKLE: Ricardo Pereira stops Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish in his tracks
MIKE EGERTON/PA GREAT TACKLE: Ricardo Pereira stops Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish in his tracks

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