There are only two certainties in life: death and taxes. While some people appear to be be having success with the latter, this sentence rings true on the whole. I’d also add injury to this list.

Injuries happen, despite the best efforts of everyone from health and safety regulations to high quality performance professionals seeking to create robust and resilient individuals. Often injury strikes at the worst time and coming into a World Cup year we can be certain that some world class stars won’t be at this summer’s jamboree in Russia.

The physical deficiencies presented by an injury are often obvious and easy to detect. Abilities such as movement quality, stability, strength, balance and response to load are the bread and butter of monitoring the response to a rehabilitation programme but the tricky aspects of programme design lie in those associated factors that aren’t immediately visible or tangible such as confidence, fear and anxiety. If we could see a physical manifestation of these, they would be taken much more seriously and probably considered as integral as the aforementioned physical elements.

The speculation regarding Zlatan’s demise and end of career proved to be spectacularly refuted last weekend. It was only Rob Elliot’s reflexes that prevented it being another great Old Trafford moment for the Giant Swede as he returned to action a full two months ahead of the predicted schedule of the most optimistic estimates. Throw into the mix his age, volume and level of football played and his return looks all the more incredible.

It was easy to categorise the initial post surgery reports from Freddie Fu about the quality of Zlatan’s general conditioning as more hyperbole seeking to inflate the Lion brand and image Zlatan has admitted to actively cultivating and that he presents to the media. He has made a mockery of any doubts of his physical condition with this weekend’s return.

So how has he done it? Is he a supernatural being? He is of course an outstanding athlete and obviously takes great care and acts as a model professional in his preparation, but he’s probably not supernatural. Please don’t tell him I said that.

The world class medical support he received from the staff at United and his personal support network obviously played a huge part too but my personal opinion is that there are two other significant factors that aided his rehab.

First, being accompanied by Marcus Rojo, who isn’t the shy and retiring type, probably helped him and provided support and comradery, as it’s much easier to go through a long rehab alongside a teammate and you help each other at various points. Despite the injuries being classified as the same, no two ACL ruptures are the same, just like no two players are. There would’ve been times in the rehab when one was slow to process and the other was apparently flying and vice versa. This factor cannot be underestimated.

Another factor would have been Zlatan’s approach and mindset. He is such a strong, stubborn and single-minded individual that he simply took this large, significant and previously career threatening injury in his stride and regarded it as another obstacle to overcome, much like those he encountered throughout his childhood. In addition to this attitude I think he approached the injury as an opportunity and took the extra time on his hands to work on other aspects of his physical condition as well as refresh and readjust. This was the first major injury he has sustained and he has played over 670 competitive club games plus 127 international appearances at all age groups. (Check out mobile phone casino no deposit bonus).

Here is to the medical staff and the two players for such success in the rehab process, and let’s look forward to a good 2018, free of any recurrences.