Ezequiel Schelotto has revealed the mental battle he fought - and won – on his way back from injury.

The Argentinean wing-back hopes to feature in a third successive home game when Leicester visit on Saturday.

Schelotto worked his way back from ruptured knee ligaments suffered on loan in Italy to be champing at the bit to play early this season.

He admits he gave Graham Potter a few angry looks when he was told to bide his time and wait for his chance.

But Schelotto highlights the great relationship he has with the head coach and is delighted to be given a chance to prove what he can do.

He has spoken of the tears of relief when he got on the pitch in the recent win over Everton at the Amex.

Schelotto told The Argus: “I feel important again, if you can say that in some way.

“Obviously I feel like I am just beginning again.

“Only 11 players can play and I have to keep on waiting but the coach is talking to me a lot.

“He speaks to me during the week in training sessions and he helps.

“He makes you feel very relieved, in a way, and very important.

“A player can be a long time out and wants to play.

“But I am very happy and waiting for my chance.”

Schelotto went down in agony early in a match for Chievo at Torino on March 2.

It was only his second start for the club he had rejoined on loan after falling totally out of favour with Chris Hughton last season.

If he was superstitious, Schelotto might now be wary of the first Sunday in March.

That was when, a year earlier, he was knocked out cold by Sead Kolasinac of Arsenal at the Amex.

But any mental hurdles have been well and truly cleared during his recovery period.

Followers on social media saw almost daily updates on work being put in at the Villa Stuart clinic and rehab centre in Rome, in Argentina and then from pre-season, back at Lancing.

Schelotto was asked whether he ever feared he might not return to action at any stage.

He said: “No, no, no. I was always focused on coming back, with the help of my wife and of my family, who were always around me. With the help of good people.

“I knew I had to shake off any fear and focus mentally on coming back to play.

“I am a footballer with lots of desire. I am 30 years old and I have a lot ahead of me. I never doubted, I came back earlier than expected and the medical department were very surprised.

“I was back after five months and wanted to play.

“But we spoke a lot, they told me to calm down a bit and wait for my opportunity.

“I was positive and didn’t think about never being able to run.

“I thought if I was positive, everything would sort itself out more easily.

“I want to thank the Brighton medical department a lot, my colleagues, the Brighton fans who encouraged me through social media, my wife, my parents and my family.

“My parents dad saw me play against Norwich, which was great.

“They have been over before, when I was playing in my first season.

“They are my biggest fans.”

Potter has revealed he was on the end of a few dirty looks from Schelotto as he constantly urged him to be patient in terms of a comeback.

Schelotto laughs about that now. He said: “Yes, that’s true. A mean face!

“But he knows what I am like. He knows the temperament I’ve got but that’s my way of wanting to play.

“The truth is we communicated very well.

“He knows what I can bring and when I get the chance I want to make the most of it.”

Amid the elation of the late winner, Schelotto was in tears when full-time came against Everton.

He said: “It felt like a big weight had been taken from me and it’s normal that the first thing I thought about was all the time I had been out of action.”

There was another aspect to that comeback, of course.

Injury or no injury, it seemed for a long time that Schelotto had played his last game for the Seagulls.

He was brought into the side as, initially, a breath of fresh air during the second half of the 2017-18 season.

But Hughton lost patience in the later weeks of the campaign.

It is understood his starting place was in doubt for the trip to Selhurst Park towards the end of the season.

As it turned out he remained in the side – and a catastrophic first half pretty much ended his league career under Hughton.

Bruno was restored to the starting XI to help Albion draw with Spurs and Burnley, then beat Manchester United to get over the line and secure safety.

Schelotto came back only for the season-ending battering at Anfield but had not been near the team since, even when changes were made in the Carabao Cup.

While he was recovering from injury, a chain of events was unfolding back in Brighton which would ultimately lead to a change of boss and offer another chance in blue and white.

He said: “In that first year I was here with Chris, he opened the door for me and I responded to that on the pitch. I played more than 20 matches.

“In the second year, he changed his methods of playing and thinking and I had to go down another route.

“Now, with this coach, I feel very comfortable.

“He has given chances to every player and his form of playing is to attack a lot down the flanks, which is something I like, especially with wing-backs.

“For me, playing a 3-4-3 or a 3-5-2, it doesn’t matter - or even 4-4-2. He will always give me the chance to play as an attacking full-back.”