Essien makes Panathinaikos debut, coach urges for more playing time to regain full fitness

Panathinaikos coach Andrea Stramaccioni has stated Ghana midfielder Michael Essien will need more playing time in a bid to reach full fitness.

The former Chelsea midfielder made his debut for Panathinaikos on Saturday during a top-flight league clash with Iraklis, about sixteen weeks after joining the Greek side.

The 32-year-old Ghanaian spent a considerable period on the sideline due to a niggling knee injury. An injury which has seen the form of one of the most energetic box to box midfielders decline.

He joined Italian giants AC Milan in an 18 month contract and left on a free to Panathinaikos this summer. After waiting for four months to make his debut, his coach admitted he was well below match sharpness.

“He needs time. It was his first game. He could not be 100% ready. It was positive,” Stramaccioni said.

Essien may be handed another opportunity to boost his match fitness when Panathinaikos play with Panachaiki on December 3.

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