When Danny Rose walked out onto the Wembley Stadium pitch on Sunday against Crystal Palace, it was the first time he started a match for Tottenham Hotspur in 11 months. It was the culmination of a long journey that started after he injured his knee against Sunderland last January.
And to his credit, he asked for, and is receiving, help. Rose admitted that he has been seeing a psychologist to help deal with his emotions while he begins the long road back to first choice football for Tottenham and for England.
"I have started seeing a psychologist to try and help me think positively. I have started reading books, too. This injury has been one of the most difficult periods of my life.
"Last season I was doing well, I felt untouchable, I felt like I was one of the best, I felt that if I carried on with that form, anything could have happened, then the injury happened.
"It humbled me, it brought me back down to earth, it handed me a reality check. It just made me realise that football can be taken away from you at any given point.
There’s been a stigma about mental health in our culture, and especially in sports culture, for a long time, and in the past it sometimes felt as though professional athletes either don’t see or aren’t encouraged to seek the professional mental health that they need. So Rose should be commended for both seeking help and openly talking about his struggles over the past year.
It also perhaps puts some of the stuff from this summer’s controversial interview with The Sun into context. Rose slammed Spurs’ transfer policy and wage structure in an interview that did not go over well with manager Mauricio Pochettino or Tottenham fans.
Dealing with a serious injury and having to watch on the sidelines as your club reaches new heights and your replacement continues to improve has to be difficult, and Rose even admits that he started to lose his love for the game.
"It was only two months ago that I was doing some rehab at St George’s Park and I lost my appetite to get back fit because I didn't think it was ever going to happen.
"But it gave me a break from the club. It was a bit stressful for me there [at Spurs], seeing the same faces every day. I have been impressed, jealous and angry watching Tottenham’s games...
"I have spent a lot of time thinking about things. It’s hard not to when you have been out for so long and you see your team flying and your country doing well to qualify for the World Cup.
"I have been having some help to channel my thoughts in a better way and hopefully that can help push me on."
The Danny Rose that we saw on Sunday still looks like he’s shaking off the rust of 11 months without a competitive match. It also looks like he’s gained a few pounds in the past year. These things are natural and understandable. Even so, we saw glimpses of the Rose that was the lock-down starter at left back for England and one of the best fullbacks in the Premier League.
From these comments, you can see that Rose is starting to turn a corner. He seems less angry and less resentful than he was even this summer. It seems like he understands that he made some mistakes. He’s thanked the fans for welcoming him back so warmly. There’s a lot of work yet to be done, but it certainly seems that Rose has found a new drive to rise above it all. That’s a good thing both for Spurs, and for England.