BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport
HEARTS star Faycal Rherras has sought to allay fears over his fitness by insisting he would never put his international career before his health.
The 24-year-old contracted a mild case of Malaria while on duty with Morocco in Equatorial Guinea and underwent treatment in hospital before returning to Scotland.
Having been floored by the disease, he sat out their subsequent 2-0 win against Dundee as doctors at Tynecastle nursed him back to full fitness.
Rherras has since made two appearances for Hearts, scoring his first goal for the club in a breathless 3-3 draw against Inverness, however head coach Robbie Neilson has expressed reservations about his latest call up.
Neilson told the Edinburgh Evening News “I am concerned about it, he’s just not feeling great and he’s still on medication” after the promising left-back was named in Herve Renard’s squad for the World Cup qualifier against Ivory Coast.
However, Rherras insists he is fighting fit and ready for the rigours of a 3400-mile round trip.
He said: “I just want to reassure the fans that I am in good shape.
“I would never take any risk with my health, and no medical staff would let me play if I was not fit.
“The disease is far away thanks to the work of the medics.
“I am proud to be called up by my national team, and I am also proud to be a Jambo. I will always defend those two shirts when they call on me.”