Maz Kouhyar felt “on top of the world” in October - before injury brought his fine early-season progress to a halt.
Having been called up by his country and made a positive start to the season for Walsall’s first team, Kouhyar suffered an injury - tearing his lateral meniscus - that would keep him sidelined for months.
The 19-year-old midfielder made seven appearances - six of which came in Sky Bet League One - last term and had been called up for international duty by Afghanistan in October, before suffering the injury which would keep him out of action for months.
Kouhyar had even scored his first senior goal for the Saddlers in the 5-2 Checkatrade Trophy win over Grimsby Town and, having worked his way back from his injury, played a key role in the penultimate game of the season at home to Port Vale.
Overall, Kouhyar can reflect on a mixed season - but one that can potentially benefit him long-term.
“For me it was a good and a bad season,” Kouhyar told Saddlers TV.
“I learned a lot and towards the start I was put into the first team early, and I got my international call-up as well.
“But then I got my injury and that made me much mentally stronger.
“To deal with that is quite hard.
“I tore my lateral meniscus and that was meant to keep me out for 10 weeks, but after that there were more problems.
“I was coming out with swelling and things like that and my knee had to get used to playing again. It kept me out for most of the season.
“After that I got myself fitter and stronger so, to be fair, it was a good season for me.”
Did Kouhyar feel like he learned a lot in that time?
“You learn a lot about things like maintaining your body - every morning doing bikes, stretches and certain exercises to keep your body ticking over,” added the youngster.
“It helped a lot.
“Dieting too - when you’re not playing football you have to keep to a certain diet to make sure you don’t put on weight.
“I learned a lot in that.
“Football changes so quick because before my injury I was feeling on top of the world.
“After that I wasn’t even touching a ball - it’s a big contrast.
“At the end of the season, getting the Walsall Senior Cup win, finishing top of the league (with the developmental squad) and getting that one senior appearance as well gives you that little taste of what I can bring next season.”