Manchester United striker Ibrahimovic inspired Kayal's comeback

Beram Kayal. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)
Beram Kayal. Picture by Phil Westlake (PW Sporting Photography)
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Beram Kayal admitted he was inspired by Zlatan Ibrahimovic in his latest comeback from injury.

The midfielder broke a leg in Brighton's final pre-season friendly but has now played three Premier League matches since returning to first-team action at Tottenham last month.

Ibrahimovic suffered a serious knee ligament injury in April but was back playing in November and Kayal, who is expected to start tonight's FA Cup tie with Crystal Palace at the Amex, said: "Everything he did in every day, people need to learn from his winning mentality.

"For me, he’s one of the best in the game, probably for the last 15 years he’s proved it every year. More than the quality he has it’s the winning mentality.

"Everywhere he went – AC Milan, Barcelona, Inter Milan, Juve, Paris St Germain - he brought a winning mentality.

"But I looked at what he did when he was injured and was not playing, the way he reacted and worked hard, the confidence he had to be back. It gave me a top model to look up to and learn from."

After undergoing his eighth major operation when he broke his leg in pre-season, Kayal says it is his love of the game which keeps him coming back: "I really love the game. I love my family as well. But my family know that if I’m happy in football I’m happy in the house.

"Normally they say keep the missus happy and you’ll have a happy life. But it’s different in my situation. I need to be happy in football to be happy in the house.

"I like the game, I love the game, I love everything around it – the fans, the training, the competition. When I’m injured I really miss that. The drive I had from the family to want to be back.

"The way every operation went, the rehab got shorter. I was working extra time to get back quicker than expected. It’s not easy. It’s hard to explain how it feels when you are on top of your game and you get injured and you need to come back. But I’m lucky to be a footballer."