Football Fern Ria Percival has returned to the training pitch for the first time in eight months as she continues her rehabilitation from a serious knee injury.
The defensive midfielder celebrated her 33rd birthday with a midweek training session with her Tottenham Hotspur side, who play in England’s Women’s Super League.
Percival’s progress was acknowledged by Spurs manager Rehanne Skinner who told a media conference:
“The best bit of news this week is Ria Percival being back running on the pitch for the first time in eight months, so that’s a massive plus for us yesterday, on her birthday.
“It was a good day at the office really. That’s been really good progress.”
The 160-cap Percival was injured in the 15th minute of New Zealand’s 2-1 loss to Australia in Canberra on April 12.
Confirming Percival had suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury, Ferns coach Jitka Klimková said of the injury: “It’s really devastating, and it hurts much more than the result of (the) game.”
Until the injury, no player had played more minutes for New Zealand since Klimková’s appointment as head coach, an indication of Klimková’s confidence in her.
Percival, who started her senior football career with Auckland’s Lynn-Avon United, has been with Spurs since 2019.