- Ryan Mills is back to fitness and ready to face Ireland
- Hopefully I’ve come back a fitter player – Mills
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It’s been a tough few months for Gloucester Rugby’s 18-year-old centre Ryan Mills. After suffering a horrendous ankle injury during training back in October, the England Under 20 star is on the road to recovery and back in the England set-up.
As Rob Hunter prepares an Under 19 Academies side to face Ireland in Dublin on December 30, Mills is desperate to pull on the England shirt once more.
"I’m in the squad for the U19 England Academies game against Ireland, so my aim is to try and get some game time and really push on from there – I feel good and I’m ready to play," he said.
"I went over on my ankle and had grade three ruptures on two of the ligaments, so I basically needed my whole ankle reconstructed. It’s now 10 weeks since my operation and 12 weeks since the actual injury, so I’m getting there."
The former Exeter Chiefs man has certainly made the most of his enforced absence from the game, using the time wisely to work on his weaker areas.
"It actually feels a bit stronger now than it did before to be honest. I’ve been working hard at building the muscle back up as well as concentrating on building up other weaker muscles such as my hamstrings and glutes.
"It’s important to take positives out of your injuries and hopefully I’ve come back a fitter player."
Great players at both club and country – Mills
Photo: Getty Images
The England U20 squad recently enjoyed a week-long training camp in sunny Portugal, and while full contact rugby was out of the equation for Mills, the opportunity to mix it with the rest of Rob Hunter’s squad was reward enough.
"I enjoyed a good week over in Portugal with the rest of the U20 lads. I wasn’t able to participate too much in the rugby as a precaution but I was chomping at the bit. Saying that, it was a good opportunity to build my fitness up and spend some time in the gym while doing my rehab.
"It’s exciting to have so many good players in and around the squad at the moment. You don’t have to rely on yourself, you rely on your teammates to back you up and that’s a huge asset of the current U20 squad – it’s full of team players."
It’s not just at international level where Mills is surrounded by talent, back at Gloucester he has England Senior centre Mike Tindall for company, someone he admires hugely.
"He’s a huge role model and has given me different bits of advice, which I have massive respect for. Everything he does is professional and for me personally, I’d love to achieve what he has done for both club and country."
Stay up-to-date with England's Age Group news over the festive period as both the England U18 and U19 England Academies sides head to Dublin to play Ireland on December 30.