After seven months Indy Boonen was finally able to return to the field. He played one hour last Monday during the match between Waasland Beveren and KV Oostende. It were his first playing minutes after he tore his Achilles tendon in August. We spoke to him about his rehabilitation, his goals and his love for darts.

Indy, back to August 8, we win 1-0 against AA Gent but for you it was a dramatic game. You tore your Achilles tendon.

Indeed, I immediately felt that it was not good. Then the verdict came quickly that it was an Achilles tendon tear. The day after the match, I was operated. After that, there was a long rehabilitation.

How did the rehabilitation go?

Of course it has been a long road but all in all it went fairly smoothly. I had one or two training sessions every weekday at Move to Cure (kine practice led by Lieven Maesschalk). Here I worked mainly on strengthening the tendon. Now I have been back at the club for a few weeks. In the beginning I only had to do exercises in the fitness room, but now I am already training full time with the group. Those first weeks back at the club were mentally difficult. I saw the boys going out every day, having fun, and I had to stay inside. I am glad that this period is now behind me.

As you say, mentally it wasn't always easy. How did you provide distractions?

I was staying at a hotel in Antwerp. I was then two minutes' walk from Jelle Bataille. We saw each other almost daily during that period. Also, I was always free in the weekends. This allowed me to see my family more. In retrospect, that period also went relatively fast. I once had time for things that I otherwise had less time for. I also accepted my injury fairly quickly. There is no point in fretting about it. The sooner you accept it, the sooner you can move on and start rehabilitating. This also pays off now.

What are your goals now for the next three matches?

I hope to be there on Friday. Especially after my match in the reserves on Monday, I feel that I'm ready for more. Of course not to be a base player yet, but it would be nice to be in the selection. Then we'll see if I can make minutes or not. If I'm not there on Friday, it's no disaster. Then we have the international break next week. We also play a friendly match in that break, so it's the ideal opportunity to make minutes.

You are now on your fourth season at sea, which means that in the 'new KVO' you are even among the veterans in the group. How do you deal with that?

It's crazy that I'm among the 'anciens' now. I know how the club works and what the fans expect. I also try to pass that on to the new players who come here. It's a very nice group as well, we hang out well together.

Do you have any other hobbies outside of soccer?

I love darts. Both watching and playing. At the club, I often play in between training sessions with Robbie D'Haese and Anton Tanghe. With my Achilles tendon, darts was also the ideal sport. I myself am not a fan of 'Dancing Dimi' but rather of Mike van Gerwen. He is the best (laughs).

If you can dream, what is your dream competition?

I would very much like to return to England one day. I always had a good time there when I played at Manchester United in the youth. So the Premier League is definitely a dream. I know it's anything but easy to get to the Premier League one day, but you can dream.