Archie Thompson Q and A caught up with Archie Thompson, who is making excellent progress after his knee reconstruction and is looking forward to making his return some time in December

Q: Archie, can you talk us through the support you have been given through the process from players like Matthew Kemp and Billy Celeski, who have both been through the same thing in the past 12 months.

AT: Pretty much through the whole process I’ve been talking to Billy and Kempy as well. Kempy’s about a month ahead of where I should be. Whenever there’s a little niggle, I’ve got the luxury of speaking to Billy or Kempy about it.

I can-t imagine what Billy was going through not having that support. It-s good to have that and to see where he is now and getting back to the way he was before. It-s a great boost for us and it makes us work that little harder to see where he is and how much confidence he has now.

Q: Is it easier from a psychological point of view, to go through what you have as an experienced player as opposed to say a 20-year-old who is just making his way into the game?

AT:I think it-s a little bit different. For a 20-year-old to do it, you’ve got time to recover and get back because you’ve got time to get back and playing. I think with myself, I’m 31 and this came as a big shock to me. I had thoughts that I’ll never be able to come back, that this will this reduce my football career. That all goes through your mind. I feel good now. There was that depression stage, early on with the knee, I’m over that.

It-s like a painter starting on a new canvas. That’s how I feel. That what you have to take it as. You have the start from scratch again.

It gives me a chance to build the pecs, build the arms, work on the leg muscles. It-s not all about football, it-s about being at the beach and being happy with yourself (laughs). I think in a way, it’s helped me because I’ll be stronger and I’ll have more years of football in me.

Q: What have you made of the players who have featured up front for Victory so far this season, Mate Dugandzic, Robbie Kruse and Ricardinho?

AT:Mate, Robbie Kruse, when you look, at their age, and what our club is and the expectation people put on our team and our club, for them to be the age they are and trying to lead, I think they are doing a phenomenal job. Carlos is starting to find some form. Ricardinho has come in, he’s still not fit and you’ve seen a little bit what he can do. I think the boys have been fantastic. I’m just hoping they don-t do too well (laughs).

Q: Do their strong performances take some pressure of you as you push to get back to full fitness?

AT: I do my best work and I feel more comfortable on the pitch. I’m working not because of coming back for the team but for my own sake as well. I do my best things on that pitch and if they guys are doing well, maybe I don-t have to put as much pressure on myself. But in saying that I want to come back and be able to work.

Q: When Ernie Merrick was looking for a striker prior to signing Ricardinho, he said that he wanted to find a player as similar to you as possible. Do you take that as a compliment or a sense he’s trying to find someone to replace you in the long term?

AT: You can see it both ways. I-ll have to query him about that (laughs). It-s a compliment. I’ve worked my game very hard to the way that Melbourne Victory want to play and what they expect from their players. I was a bit of a slacker the first year, everyone knows that, but I’ve changed my game and that’s good. I think it’s a compliment that Ernie wants to find a player to play alongside me rather than instead of me.