James Chester: Aston Villa defender hopes to beat injury and continue Wales career

By Owain LlyrBBC Sport Wales
James Chester celebrates Aston Villa's Championship Play-off final win
James Chester's Aston Villa will be back in the Premier League next season

James Chester hopes to carry on playing international football for Wales, even though he is going to have to manage a knee injury for the rest of his career.

The Aston Villa defender says he has damaged his knee "indefinitely".

The 30-year-old admits he put his career at risk earlier in the season by playing through the pain.

"It first occurred in the Wales-Denmark game (in November). I managed with it for two or three months. I was the only fit centre-half at the club," he said.

"But once January came around the club were able to bring in some really good players in my position. It allowed me to take some time out and hopefully I'll be ready to go for the start of next season."

Chester has not played a single minute of competitive football since January, but returned to training before the end of the season.

He had to watch from the stands as Villa secured promotion to the Premier League by beating Derby County 2-1 in the Championship Play-off final.

"With the injury I've had I was pleased just to be back involved before the season was out," Chester told BBC Sport Wales.

"With the rest I've had since the end of January, the injury has improved an awful lot. I'm not dealing with any pain at the moment. That's a huge bonus but with the type of injury it is it will need monitoring and perhaps I won't train as much as I always have done, to prolong my career."

Chester has won 35 caps for Wales since making his debut in a 2-0 friendly defeat against the Netherlands in 2014.

He played in every game at Euro 2016 as Chris Coleman's team reached the semi-final, where they lost 2-0 against Portugal.

"Since I made my debut for Wales, I've loved every minute of it," he said.

"I'm confident if I can get myself fit without pain, I can continue to play."

Chester will not be involved in the Euro 2020 qualifiers away against Croatia and Hungary next week, but believes Ryan Giggs' team can get two good results.

"Being so long after the season finished, and the quality of the opposition, it's going to be difficult," he added.

"We've proved time and time again we're capable of going to places like Croatia and Hungary and getting results."