Reinvigorated Ronan Curtis insists he is ‘mentally’ rested – and ready to relaunch Pompey’s promotion bid.
The winger has reunited with his team-mates in Dublin having been granted an extra 10 days off this summer.
Curtis marked his pre-season return on Sunday and is now in the frame to feature against UCD in the Blues’ opening friendly tonight.
An impressive maiden Fratton Park campaign last season saw the 23-year-old earn Republic of Ireland honours and named by Kenny Jackett as Pompey’s young player of the season.
However, an exhausting journey which began in January 2018 with Derry, saw his energy wane from the turn of the year.
But following his longest break in two years, a refreshed Curtis believes he’s ready to fire again.
He said: ‘I needed a break, especially for me last year coming straight from Derry and playing most of the games after a week-and-a-half off.
‘It’s nothing to do with fitness, with so many games it mentally drains you.
‘I did well last year, but wasn’t at 100 per cent. Now I’ve had three weeks off, I‘m at 100 per cent and raring to go.
‘Last season was mentality draining, people think it’s to do with fitness but it’s nothing like that, I never lose fitness, it was a mental thing.
‘It’s a weird one, when you play so many games – I played 90-odd matches – it gets into your brain that you are playing too much and having to rest your legs. You’re mentally tired.
‘That’s what happened to me. Then the boys after the Sunderland (play-off) game were off, while I still had another three weeks to go on international duty.
‘But for three weeks I’ve been mentally rested, having nothing to do with football and going on holiday to Barcelona.
‘I’m rested up, refreshed and raring to go.’
Curtis’ summer break did not begin until June 11, prompting his Pompey pre-season training delay.
Following a 49-game campaign with the Blues, he linked-up with the Republic of Ireland for two Euro 2020 qualifiers.
He added: ‘My summer break started on June 11, after the final Ireland game.
‘We went to Portugal on May 21 for a week, then it was back to Dublin for a week to train leading up to the Denmark game – and then went back to Ireland to play Gibraltar.
‘Even though I didn’t play in those two games, it was intense training, with some double sessions in Portugal as well.
‘It was fantastic to be involved with Ireland, though, I would never complain about that.
‘I’ve since had three weeks off and am looking forward to the season with Pompey.’