Richard Dunne has been given the all-clear to make his return for Aston Villa – and boost Ireland’s European Championship hopes.
Dunne was in Dublin on Wednesday to launch a new supporters marketing pack for Irish team sponsor 3 when he allayed all fears about his fitness after a recent shoulder injury.
He told the Irish Sun: “I last saw the Aston Villa doctor on Friday and he said ‘fine, go ahead and do what you like’
“He says it’s perfectly healed and as strong as ever, there’s a metal plate in there now which I can take out after I retire maybe.
“At the moment I’m not allowed to have any contact. I start full contract training on Friday and I’ll take it from there.
“I’ve got this big padding on it, it’s like a shinpad which goes over my shoulder.
“They said I should wear it. I don’t have to, it’s a case of whether it’s comfortable or not. I’m sure I’ll be fine.
“Before I play, I’ll know if I’m ready. I need someone to run up behind me and smack me on it.
“I know it’s going to be sore but it’s not going to break because I’ve got the plating in. It’s just getting that initial knock.
“You’re probably better off running into a wall and seeing if you’re alright at the end of it.”
Villa have given Dunne every support in his bid to play the Euro finals.
The 32-year-old added: “The doctor Ian McGuinness has been brilliant, literally from going into the dressing room when it happened.
“He said ‘Listen, it’s going to take two or three months but you’ll be grand’.
“He’s friends with myself, Shay Given and Damien Duff. He came over and watched the play-off game against Estonia and he wanted to make sure I was at the Euros.
“That was the first thing on his mind when it happened, to make sure I was reassured.
“The club have been brilliant. They have said they are going to arrange some games for me at the training ground if I don’t get to play first-team games.
“They’ve not rushed me, they’ve just said ‘take your time and make sure everything is fine for you in the summer’.
“They gave me the option to go to America for rehab with Cleveland Browns but there was no point because I had done the training they were talking about a few weeks earlier.
“They even went out and bought those rugby pads so I was tackling them last Saturday just to test it.”