Pienaar set for speedy return
Steven Pienaar is confident he will not be out for long after being sidelined with a knee injury.
By Ben Collins
Last Updated: 29/09/09 5:03pm
Everton's Steven Pienaar is confident he will not be out for long after being sidelined with a knee injury.
Pienaar has been on crutches since being forced out of Saturday's 1-0 win at Portsmouth and is almost certainly out of Thursday's Europa League clash with BATE Borisov and Sunday's home league game with Stoke.
But despite heavy bruising and swelling, the South African midfielder has confirmed the injury is not as bad as first feared.
"I'm still in some pain and I'm not sure what's actually wrong with my knee," he told Sky Sports News.
"But the doctor's convinced it's nothing serious so I'll take his word."
The setback has come at a bad time for Pienaar having picked up from where he left off last season to maintain his best spell at Everton since joining from Borussia Dortmund in 2007, initially on loan.
"It started late last season," he said. "I was full of confidence and I was also fit, and when you're 100 per cent fit you can play your best football.
"When I started this season, that's what I was working on - my fitness. The natural ability is there - you just have to be fit.
"I'm quite happy and the gaffer's been supportive of me."
Pienaar will be determined to get back in action for Everton as soon as possible given the World Cup finals loom on the horizon.
His native South Africa is hosting next summer's competition and the 27-year-old admits the prospect of playing in a World Cup on home soil is never far from his thoughts.
"I think about it every night," he said. "But my focus is on my club because if I don't play for my club, I won't make it into the squad.
"I have to keep on fighting and working hard to keep my place in the team.
"This season is very important for me, firstly with Everton and secondly with the national team, because there will be lots of competition towards the end of the football year," Pienaar added.
"I have to stay fit, play well for my country and hopefully make the people of South Africa proud."