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Alarm bells sounding for Everton

Everton
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By ESPN Staff

Laursen begins latest Aston Villa comeback

Aston Villa defender Martin Laursen has reported no ill effects after his first taste of action for 12 months following a long-term knee problem.

The Denmark international featured for 45 minutes of Monday's pre-season friendly with Chasetown - his first game since playing in the 2-2 Premiership draw with Bolton last August.

Now Laursen is hoping he can be part of Villa's squad for the pre-season tour of Germany and Holland which gets underway this weekend.

Laursen told Villa World: 'I'm very, very happy with the workout. I was happy with my performance and most of all, the knee felt good, which was the most important thing.

'I want people to know how well my knee felt because I was happy with it. I didn't think about making challenges because it didn't hurt. I had no problems playing so I'm happy and satisfied.

'Twisting, turning, heading and clearing - I don't feel any problems with it which is very important. Those are the things that will put pressure on the knee but it felt good.

'We have to see the reaction but I'm not concerned about that because I think I'll be fine.'

Laursen added: 'This was another hurdle I've overcome and it was a big psychological one to play a match. I felt good on the pitch and this was a big thing for me. I've trained but this was my first match and I'm happy.

'There is no substitute for playing in a match. Training is one thing but playing is another. This was a reserve match and the next step is to play with the first team and I'm looking forward to that.

'Fitness-wise I feel good and my knee feels good so I'm slowly proving I'll be ready. The next step is to be involved in some of the games on the trip to Germany and Holland.

'I want to train well this week and then leave with the boys on Friday, then I want to be involved in one or two matches in Holland. That would be great for me.

'Of course, it's all about pacing myself and that's why I only played the first half, it's one step at a time.

'I've tried to step it up by doing one extra training session a week, but it all depends on how my knee is and what I think I can do.'