Bojan: I'll return for Stoke better than ever

A serious knee injury has not dampened Bojan Krkic's spirits, with the Stoke forward adamant he will be back in a big way, once he completes his gruelling rehabilitation.

Bojan's debut season in the Premier League came to an end in January after undergoing surgery to repair a ruptured cruciate ligament in his left knee, which the Spaniard suffered in a 4-1 FA Cup win at Rochdale.

The 24-year-old, who arrived at Britannia Stadium from boyhood club Barcelona in the close-season, has been working tirelessly in the Barcelona province of El Papiol as he steps up his recovery.

And Bojan has promised Stoke fans he will return from injury stronger than he was before.

"I miss football so much. It's all I've ever known. There is not a substitute for that buzz," Bojan told the Daily Mail.

"As a footballer, you know it is a career where you risk injury. That's why you have to play with a smile and try to enjoy every moment. You have to think, "I will be back". I have thought a lot about this.

"The best is to think little by little, and eventually you arrive at the end goal.

"That is why I read all these books. I am now off the crutches. I can walk now, then I want to walk quicker, then jog, then to run... by the end, you're scoring goals and the fans are screaming your name.

"When I return I don't want to be the same as before, I want to be stronger, better than before.

"Trust me, I will be back."

An international call-up beckoned prior to Bojan's injury, with Spain coach Vicente del Bosque monitoring the former Barca youngster after a strong start to life in the Premier League.

Bojan scored five goals in all competitions for Stoke, including strikes against Tottenham, Arsenal and Everton.

"The difference at Stoke is the number of minutes I was playing. You believe in yourself more, you try different things," he added.

"Mark Hughes really believes in me, he makes me feel as though I'm a great footballer.

"He has put me into the position I believe is my best - 'media punta' [behind the striker]. In this role, I have freedom. I love playing, creating, constructing, scoring goals. It was as happy as I have been in football."