NORWICH City Under-18s goalkeeper Marcus Beauchamp expressed his delight at being back on the football pitch after starting Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur
The former Bristol Rovers youngster had been out for a total of nine months after suffering a serious knee injury towards the end of last season, but has gradually been working towards a return to competitive action.
He eventually completed that comeback in the Barclays Under-18s Premier League match against Spurs, and told canaries.co.uk: "It's been a long time so it was a surreal feeling to be back playing.
"I've had great support from everybody; my family, girlfriend, the coaching staff and of course the medical team. Damien Bowyer, the Under-18s physio, has been unbelievable throughout.
"He's guided me every step of the way, and I owe a lot to him definitely. I started training with the team fully after Christmas, but I'd been working with the goalkeepers before that, which helped me to get to where I am now.
"My parents were there to see me play against Tottenham, and I was pleased with how I played. A lot of people have given me the motivation to keep going, so I'm really grateful."
Beauchamp, who won the 2014-15 Barclays Under-18s Premier League 'Save of the Season'
, added: "I now want to play as many games as possible in order to get back to being as sharp as I can be.
"After Saturday I'm determined to push on. It's been a long haul, but to be back is unbelievable; the first time I trained was such an uplifting feeling for me.
"When you're out for so long, it's all you think about. To get back training and playing, it's a whole new level of enjoyment now and I've also had time to work on things in the gym.
"I'd actually call it a blessing in disguise, so it's certainly not been all bad."
A full interview with Marcus Beauchamp will be available in City's matchday programme 'OTBC' for the visit of Chelsea to Carrow Road on Tuesday, March 1 (7:45pm).