Benayoun buoyant after return

The Israel international, formerly of Liverpool and West Ham, had

been out of action since undergoing knee surgery last October. He

has been back in training for the past few weeks and he returned to

action for his country’s midweek Euro 2012 qualifying win over

Georgia. Benayoun played the last 20 minutes of the match and while

the 30-year-old is still working on his match fitness, he is

delighted to be playing again. The talented playmaker had looked a

good acquisition prior to injury and his potential availability for

Carlo Ancelotti inside the next two weeks will hand the Italian a

major boost. “I was just so happy when the coach told me I could

get back on the pitch again after so long out,” said Benayoun. “I

knew I couldn’t have played for 90 minutes but felt I could play

for 20 or 30 at a high level. “I can’t wait to start a game again.”