Socceroos defender Harry Souttar feels stiff and sore but ecstatic after returning to top-level football from an injury-enforced year out.
The imposing centre-back said his return for Stoke City overnight Australian time could not have gone better.
Just hours after being named in Australia's 26-man squad for the World Cup, Souttar played 90 minutes in Stoke's 2-0 win over Luton in the English Championship - his comeback to elite football after a knee reconstruction.
"A little bit stiff, a little bit sore, the calves are a little bit tight, but I feel fine," he told Stoke's website.
"I got through OK, no injuries. So just happy to be out there."
Souttar suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee when playing for the Socceroos against Saudi Arabia in a World Cup qualifier on November 11 last year.
"When I done my injury ... the first thing I thought of was, 'Right, I have got a year to get fit for the World Cup'," he said.
"As the weeks went by and the months went by, it was kind of looking like it was going to be touch and go.
"I am just grateful I made it."
Souttar played four games of increasing match minutes for Stoke's under-23 side before his first-team recall.
"I feel good, I feel fit," he said.
"I have done a lot of work behind the scenes trying to get my body back fit.
"I am not as fit as I would like to be, because it takes five-to-10 games to get to what I was before.
"But I feel really, really good ... just ecstatic to be back out there."