JOHN Mousinho is relishing the challenge of juggling his new role as chair of the Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) with a return to action next season.

Oxford United’s club captain was elected by the union’s new players’ board, having been a member of the previous management committee.

It comes as the 35-year-old continues his recovery from knee surgery, which he hopes will extend his career on the pitch.

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Mousinho’s increased responsibilities with the PFA will be more time-intensive, but the centre back does not expect it to impact his commitment to his club.

He said: “It won’t affect my involvement with Oxford at all.

“It’s something I’ve been doing for the past five or six years, not in the role of chair.

“That’s going to take a bit more time away from the training ground and games.

“That’s something I’m just going to have to balance.

“It’s an exciting role and something that I’ve been really passionate about for the last few years.

“I’m looking to grasp it with both hands, but not lose sight of the fact that I still want to play a part on the playing side next season.”

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Mousinho added: “I am essentially representing the union, so sometimes there are disputes with football clubs.

“In my time with Oxford there has never been a single one.

“It’s always been great and I know the club treat players properly.

“It’ll be very interesting, hopefully it enhances the club having one of their players in that position.

“I’ll have to make sure I devote the correct amount of time to playing as well as performing my role.”

Mousinho sits on the 13-man players’ board that represents the Premier League, all three English Football League divisions, the Women’s Super League and ex-PFA members.

The U’s skipper injured his right knee during the Carabao Cup second-round tie against Watford in September and made nine appearances this season, the last on December 15 against Northampton Town.

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He went under the knife in January and continues to gain experience on the touchline as part of Karl Robinson’s coaching staff, as he has done since October 2019.

Mousinho’s contract expires at the end of the season, but the club can trigger an option for an extra year.

With recovery going well, the defender hopes to extend his playing career into a 17th campaign.

He said: “I’ve been on the pitch for the past four weeks and pretty close to 100 per cent with everything that I’m doing.

“One of my thoughts throughout was if I came back and the knee wasn’t right then I’d call it a day, but everything feels absolutely fine.

“I’ve been lucky enough to keep myself in pretty good physical shape for the majority of my career anyway.

“I think I’ve got a lot to offer on the playing side – probably in less of a role than in the past few years, but I certainly want to come back and play.

“I still love the smell of matchdays and everything that goes with it.

“It’ll be the six-month mark (since surgery) in mid-July and that’s just about right for this injury.

“Pre-season will be the time when I get back at it and have another crack.”