Lions prop Andrew Sheridan says he feels like a new man as he prepares to make his comeback from shoulder surgery.
The double Lions tourist missed the vast majority of last season after dislocating his left shoulder in Sale’s Heineken Cup clash with Cardiff Blues in October.
Having played in both the second and third Lions Tests against the Springboks in the summer of 2009, Sheridan has failed to make a single appearance for England since his return and featured just five times for his club last term.
The 30-year-old had an operation to repair the dislocation and underwent further surgery to strengthen his right shoulder following long-standing problems.
And with his body now feeling stronger than ever, Sheridan can’t wait for the new season to start.
"In some ways I suppose I do almost feel like a new player having had surgery on both shoulders," Sheridan told the Manchester Evening News.
"I've been out a hell of a long time since last October although in some ways the time seems to have gone very quickly.
"I've got one more appointment with the surgeon, just to make sure that he's happy, and then I'll be looking forward to playing in the pre-season games.
"I will have been out almost 10 months by the time we play our first pre-season game so it has been a long road back but hopefully everything will be alright. It’s certainly stronger now.
"Mentally, I don’t think it will be a problem. We'll do a lot of contact work in training and try to build things up gradually as I wouldn't go straight into a live scrummaging scenario.
"We'll probably have some tackling drills first and then build up to scrum work in training and then I'll be ready to go.
"You can't afford to have any worries or anxiety at that first scrum because otherwise the chances of getting reinjured will be even higher.
"If I think about it, I've had generally dodgy shoulders for a while and have managed to get by prior to what happened against Cardiff. My shoulders feel good at the moment and I feel good in myself so I'm looking forward to getting on with it."