Caltex Socceroos striker Andrew Nabbout says his injured shoulder is feeling “really strong” and he hopes to be back playing in a matter of weeks.
The 25-year-old required surgery following June’s FIFA World Cup after dislocating his shoulder in Australia’s 1-1 draw against Denmark.
Nabbout’s initial prognosis was a six-month stint in rehab before he could play again but he is confident of returning for club side Urawa Reds early next month.
“The shoulder is good. I’m a couple of weeks away from playing which is exciting,” Nabbout told www.socceroos.com.au from Japan.
“Originally it was going to be around November, December until I was back. But the surgery went well and the surgeon said I could be alright in three-and-a-half to four months.
“At the moment I’m way ahead of schedule, my shoulder feels really strong and hopefully in around three, four weeks I’ll be back.”
The former Newcastle Jets and Melbourne Victory attacker is targeting his clubs trip to Vegalta Sendai on October 7 as the match for his return.
“I’m training hard and doing everything except for contact exercises at the moment,” Nabbout said.
“But in a few more weeks I’ll be back out there.”
And Nabbout has extra incentive to get back as soon as possible, with the Caltex Socceroos' AFC Asian Cup title defence in the UAE in January one of his main targets.
But there’s also the back-to-back home friendlies against Korea Republic and Lebanon that the all-action attacker would love to be a part of, especially with his Lebanese heritage.
“It would be nice considering they were after me for a long time,” he admitted.
“And not just playing them but to be back home in front of a home crowd, it would be very nice.
“But first I have to get my shoulder right and play well to even get on that radar to get selected in that national team.”
Nabbout said the timing of his injury – just months after his move to the J-League – was frustrating but admits after a couple of seasons back-to-back without a break, it was an enforced layoff he needed.
Despite the disappointing way his World Cup ended, the Melbourne-born striker looks back at that period fondly.
He forced his way into Bert van Marwijk’s plans with his superb form and started against both France and Denmark before succumbing to injury.
“Just being in that environment, being around those boys and being around the calibre of players we played against was just unbelievable,” Nabbout said.
“The whole experience, the facilities we were in…just everything, it was the best experience of my life in terms of football.”
Nabbout believes Australia’s performance in the 2-1 loss to eventual FIFA World Cup winners France shows the future is bright for this Caltex Socceroos squad.
“It was a big confidence-booster and shows the players we have can mix it with the best,” he said.
“There’s a lot of talk that there’s never going to be another the ‘golden generation’ but I think we proved in that game against France, and even Denmark, the way we played showed we can mix it with teams and players like that.
“And with the young players we have coming through, it’s looking really positive for us.”
Nabbout’s Urawa Reds, who take on Ange Postecoglou’s Yokohama F.Marinos this weekend, currently sit ninth in the J-League after 25 games.