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Justin time: James delighted to be back in the thick of the action

The Leicester defender suffered an anterior cruciate knee ligament injury last year.

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Leicester’s James Justin made his first start for 11 months against Brighton. (Mike Egerton/PA)

Leicester’s James Justin made his first start for 11 months against Brighton. (Mike Egerton/PA)

Leicester’s James Justin made his first start for 11 months against Brighton. (Mike Egerton/PA)

Leicester’s James Justin revealed his delight after his first start in almost a year.

The defender returned to the Foxes’ XI against Brighton on Sunday for the first time since February 2021 when he suffered a serious knee injury against the Seagulls in the FA Cup.

Danny Welbeck’s late leveller stopped it being a winning return and earned the visitors a 1-1 draw after Patson Daka’s second-half opener.

But right-back Justin was pleased to have taken another step in his comeback – having come on as a second-half substitute in last week’s late 3-2 defeat to Tottenham.

“Obviously it’s been 11 months and it’s incidentally the same team I got injured against,” he told LCFC TV.

“It’s a good one for me to get minutes in and I felt good, so hopefully I can keep pushing and progressing, and we’ll see where we are.

It’s a good one for me to get minutes in and I felt good, so hopefully I can keep pushing and progressing, and we’ll see where we areJames Justin

“It (the recovery) has been non-stop. Everyone close to me, all the boys at the training ground will know what it takes to come back from an injury like that and to come back well. It’s been tough but I’ve had good people around me to help me through it.

“I feel fine. With the extended time, this is what you’re building up to. It’s 90 minutes and physios and sports scientists have layered in different things for me, so when I come back I’m available to play what they want me to.”

Welbeck’s equaliser was the fifth time in the last nine games Brighton have scored in the last 10 minutes to take something from games.

It kept them ninth and four points ahead of the Foxes and Welbeck praised the Seagulls’ attitude.

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Brighton’s attitude pleased Danny Welbeck (Mike Egerton/PA)

Brighton’s attitude pleased Danny Welbeck (Mike Egerton/PA)

Brighton’s attitude pleased Danny Welbeck (Mike Egerton/PA)

“It shows great character to keep going towards the end, no matter what the scoreline. We have to keep plugging away,” the former Manchester United striker told the club’s official site.

“With the level of performance we have shown we can be proud but we also know we can get even better.

“With the performance we showed and pushing towards the end we were looking for the second goal. Unfortunately it didn’t happen.

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“We know it’s going to be tough and we need the whole squad. There are a lot of distractions and disruptions going on but you have to make sure you are ready to help the collective.”

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