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Wilkie upbeat after more surgery

Lee Wilkie in training with Dundee United
Wilkie has not travelled to Ireland with the United squad

Dundee United defender Lee Wilkie says he will be fit for the start of the season despite having a knee operation during the close season.

The 29-year-old has had to endure a series of career-saving surgeries because of cruciate ligament problems.

"I am used to it now," he said. "This was just a clean up to remove a bit of debris in my knee that was causing a few problems at the end of the season.

"The operation went well and I am looking forward to the new season."

Wilkie did not travel with the rest of the United squad for their pre-season trip to Ireland.

"There was no point in rushing anything just now," he explained.

"The boys are playing a few of games across in Ireland, but I am not quite at that stage yet.

We have got to look for Europe next season and, if we don't do it, it would be a big disappointment for ourselves and to the fans

Dundee United defender Lee Wilkie

"Another week and a half of hard training with the physio and I should be right back in there."

Wilkie was looking forward to playing alongside new signing Andy Webster, although he recognises it means more competition for places in United's central defence.

Webster's own career has been hampered by injury, resulting in Rangers sending the Scotland defender on loan to Tannadice for the coming season.

"He is needing some regular games," Wilkie told BBC Scotland. "He is a top-class player and I've played with him before.

"If he gets anywhere near what he was before, he will be a great addition. I will be looking forward to the challenge."

Wilkie was last season singled out for praise by Celtic manager Gordon Strachan, but the player himself is still looking to improve.

"I am really quite harsh on myself and I don't think I played to what I can last year," he said.

"I think there's a lot more to come and I'm eager to get on with it."

Wilkie targets Euro place for United

Wilkie was also hopeful for improvement for the club, who finished fifth last season, just missing out on qualification for European competition.

"It was disappointing and shows how far we have came, finishing fifth and being disappointed," he said.

"We have got to look for Europe next season and, if we don't do it, it would be a big disappointment for ourselves and to the fans."

Wilkie would also love to earn more Scotland honours and could be called up for August's World Cup qualifier against Norway in Oslo.

"My first and foremost challenge is to be playing every week for Dundee United," he stressed.

"If I can do that, and I am playing well, we will see what else comes after that."



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see also
Webster eager for United chance
16 Jul 09 |  Dundee Utd


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