TORONTO – Torsten Frings is expected back from injury by the 2013 preseason and should be ready to contribute as Toronto FC look to rebuild, according to head coach Paul Mariner.
Frings, 35, appeared in 20 games for the Reds this year but saw his first full season in MLS cut short due to a hip injury in late August.
"I spoke to him this morning," Mariner said in answer to his first question at the end-of-season media conference at the club's Downsview Park training centre on Tuesday. "The surgery went well, everything's fine and dandy.
"I told him what he needs just to get himself back,” Mariner added. “Like I said to all the players, we need to hit the ground running next season. Don't expect the preseason to get you fit … everybody's under no illusions and [Frings is] no different."
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Director of team and player operations Earl Cochrane echoed that sentiment, insisting that “the medical guys have said [Frings] should be able to come into preseason and contribute right away."
Mariner hopes that Frings brings what he did when first played for the Reds as a Designated Player in July of 2011.
"You can never say 100 percent, but I sincerely hope so," Mariner said. "I expect him to be 100 percent. I want him to be what he is. I want him to be a very good player for Toronto Football Club, be dominant in the middle of the park and I want him to be a leader downstairs, I want him to be a leader on the field and off the field.
“Designated Players have got to be difference makers,” he added. “He's no different."
Frings still has enthusiasm to play for a team that finished the league at 5-21-8 this season, according to TFC's boss.
"He absolutely wants to be back," Mariner said. "He texts me before games and after games. He actually said to me the last time I saw him in Toronto, 'Coach, I'm going to give everything I've got. I want to go out on a high.'
"He's got a lot of pride and he wants to go out on a high and I'm more than willing to accommodate that."