Lewis Holtby says he will return from his flying visit to Germany feeling better than ever after completing his 12-week rehabilitation following knee surgery in February.

As the coronavirus shut Rovers’ training base at Brockhall the midfielder took the decision to fund a private jet back to Germany to continue his comeback from a knee ligament injury.

Holtby is expected back in England this week, with the 29-year-old likely to be forced in to quarantine for two weeks, before the possibility of linking up with his team-mates again. But he believes the benefits are clear for all to see.

He said: “I’d just had an operation and I was three or four weeks into my rehab, and it was a very clinical time. So I had to make a decision based on my health and it was the best decision ever.

“The work we have done every day has really improved my body, I feel much fitter than I was before, so I’m really buzzing to come back to England and hopefully start playing football soon again and doing what I love and being back with the boys.”

Holtby scored twice in the 5-0 win over Sheffield Wednesday in January, but his season looked to be over when he was forced off in the 1-1 draw with Middlesbrough on February 1.

Ten days later he underwent surgery that would rule him out for 12 weeks, although Holtby, who signed as a free agent last September, always held a burning desire to return for the final game against Luton.

“I’m fine, I’m really well. I think I’m done with my rehab process now. It’s been 12 weeks since the operation, I’ve been working really hard every day and the knee feels really good,” he added.

“I had a very productive week with (Rovers head physio) Andy Mitchell, but then because of the coronavirus we had to find a new solution and because I have a physio who I have worked with very closely, I had to get to Germany to do my rehab in order to get fit.

“I wanted to take the ferry across, but it wasn’t possible, and all the flights were cancelled, so taking a private flight was the only solution. It was a case of either staying in my little flat in Manchester and doing the rehab on my own or getting back to Germany and working professionally and getting the best out of me in this period of time.

“It was definitely the right decision. Of course, the crisis we’re all in now is mental and there’s more important things, but at that stage I had to think about what’s going to happen after this time and I needed to get my knee fit.”

Holtby admits it’s been a tough ride in getting back up to full squad, and with the season suspended indefinitely, he remains in limbo over when he will be able to put his boots back on again.

A regular on social media, he has been posting videos of his progress and hopes to show the fruits of his labour when the season does resume.

“I have mixed feelings,” he told the club website.

“When I got injured, I asked the doctors how long it would take and they said this injury might take 12-14 weeks, depending on how well it’s going.

“So I was keen and focused from day one on trying to beat that mark. I wanted 11 weeks. So I said to myself I need to do everything I can, work doubly hard, take good care of my knee and be positive about it. That was the first thing. The mindset has to be right.

“And I stuck to it. I enjoyed every hard session. I enjoyed every sweat, every pain, just for this goal. A week ago, we should have played Luton.

“I would have been fit for it and I felt really good, but on the other hand, it gives me much more times for the upcoming games and I feel very thankful that I might be part of the rest of the season.”