Former Aston Villa captain Ron Vlaar has opened up about how a knee injury prevented him from participating in training during his time with the club, as reported by Sport Witness.

The Dutchman has spoken candidly about his battle with an ongoing knee problem with De Telegraaf, admitting that he couldn’t even train ahead of matches:

“In the months before the FA Cup final I often had pain, I just didn’t train anymore and then I saved it every time just to be there again on Saturday in the match. 

“But you break eventually.”

The FA Cup final that Vlaar refers to is the 2015 edition, when the Villains were swept aside by a clinical Arsenal side.

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Vlaar left the Midlands in 2015, brining a three-year spell at Villa Park to an end. He made the switch to AZ Alkmaar, a club he had previously represented when his playing career was in its infancy. His knee injury, however, has continued to plague him and the defender now uses painkillers to help cope with the pain:

“My knee was not good, I had to be operated again. And it just isn’t right. If you do not train, you cannot be 100% fit. In my case, only 98 percent is still feasible, but I now know that it’s much better to train every day just hard. Otherwise I cannot participate in the game that AZ plays. Because that is very intensive.

“It is going well now. Yes, I use painkillers, I’ve been around for a long time. You get used to that. That is not new to me. I tried to quit in the winter but that was not a success.”

Vlaar’s current employers lie fourth in the Eredivise table, but find themselves 21 points adrift of league leaders PSV Eindhoven. Villa, meanwhile, occupy ninth place in the Championship but only trail sixth-placed Bristol City by four points.

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