Will Hughes says fellow Derby County midfielder George Thorne helped him deal with paranoia during his recovery a from a serious knee injury.
Hughes, 21, made his first start in more than eight months as Derby drew with Sheffield Wednesday last week.
Thorne was sidelined for much of last season after suffering a similar cruciate knee ligament injury.
“Thorney was really good with me early on. I was getting paranoid with certain little niggles,” Hughes said.
“He reminded that it was natural and to be expected. He’s been there, done it and look at him now – he is flying. Hopefully at the end of the season, next season I can be at the same level.”
Thorne, who had two previous long-term knee injuries and offered to help Hughes with his recovery, has made 34 appearances this season for the promotion-chasing Rams.
England Under-21 international Hughes – a player regularly linked with Premier League sides, including Liverpool, since making his debut in 2011 – admits he will have to fight to retain his place as Bradley Johnson and Jeff Hendrick look to win back their spots after recovering from injuries of their own.
“It will be difficult to consolidate my place in the first-team again,” Hughes told BBC Radio Derby.
“The way we are playing at the moment, we are doing well, momentum is on the up. It’s nice to get any minutes. Originally I wasn’t expected to play against this season.”