QPR star Chris Willock says his time on the sidelines with a hamstring injury was the hardest period of his life.
The 24-year-old marked his return to action with a stunning goal in the 3-2 win over Middlesbrough, firing into the top corner from 25 yards out following a run which started inside his own half.
It was his first appearance since tearing his hamstring in a 3-1 defeat by Nottingham Forest in March.
“All the hard work that I’ve been through, not really having that much time off in the summer to go on holiday with my family, that just made it all worthwhile,” he said.
“When you score a goal like that, all the hard stuff and all the stuff you’ve been doing in the gym, you remember what it was all for.
“I’d say it was probably the hardest time in my life. Just looking out on the pitch and seeing my team-mates playing and knowing I can’t help.
“Going through what I’ve gone through and trying to get back to my best in terms of running, gym work and a load of other stuff, not just on the pitch but mentally as well, I’m buzzing.”
Willock joined QPR in October 2020 from Benfica but struggled to nail down a regular place in the starting 11 during his first season at the club, instead often being used as a substitute.
But he established himself as a key player last season, scoring seven times and notching 11 assists before his injury, and was voted the supporters’ player of the season.
Prior to joining QPR, Willock also had loan spells at West Bromwich Albion and Huddersfield Town but says finding a permanent home at Rangers has been of massive benefit to his career.
“I love it here, to be fair, to come home after being away for so long in Portugal,” Willock said.
“Not only is it a family club, it’s a very good club for young players to develop and showcase their skills.
“I feel like they’ve given me the opportunity to really grow from a player that had little experience and not as much confidence into a man and to really come into the player that I am today.”