The lifestyle change helping W-League star Heyman back to her best

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A major lifestyle change off the pitch is helping W-League star Michelle Heyman bounce back after a horror injury which left her sidelined for over 12 months.

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Heyman, 30, will lead the line for Adelaide United this year after making the move in the off-season from Canberra United where she had played since 2010.

It is a move which Heyman hopes can revitalise her career as she finally returns to full fitness after a severe ankle injury suffered while playing for Canberra in 2016, which kept her sidelined for more than a year.

A painful and slow recovery meant Heyman was left at home as the Matildas - who she had long been a regular fixture of - broke through with some of the biggest results in the national team's history.

A return to action last W-League season, and a call-up for the Algarve Cup, proved that the prolific striker hadn't lost her touch.

While Heyman admitted it was difficult at times last season, as she returned to the pitch, the 60-cap Matildas veteran revealed it was an off-the-pitch milestone which left the biggest mark.

"I started my first ever full-time job last year to see what it was like to not be an athlete," Heyman told The World Game.

"You get to an age where you learn there is a lot more to life than just football. I'm 30 now and I've realised there is so much more I want to explore.

"In the past, my mind was always on football and I'd go to bed thinking about what I did in training, upcoming games or how many goals I need to score.

"Now my work away from football is taking up so much of my time that I just don't feel any pressure.

"It has brought back the feeling I had when I first joined the W-League and was just this random girl from Shellharbour, who knew how to score goals."

The new mindset also inspired Heyman's change of scenery this season.

Although it was tough for Heyman to leave Canberra, after calling the nation's capital home for so many seasons, she said the chance at a fresh start after some encouragement from Adelaide coach Ivan Karlovic made the decision easier.

"After everything i went through with my injury I wasn't sure if I was even going to play anymore," she said.

"Ivan (Karlovic) and I had been chatting for a few months and he told me there would be a place for me in his Adelaide squad if I wanted to keep playing.

"I've really enjoyed being in Adelaide and working with such a great group of girls."

A return to the Matildas squad for the 2019 Women's World Cup in France (LIVE, FREE and in HD on SBS) is something Heyman hopes to acheive, but she accepts it might be tough to break into a young squad reaching the height of its powers.

"Over the past 18 months it was a little bittersweet to not be invovled with the Matildas, but I knew deep down I wasn't capable of reaching the high standards required to make the team, Heyman said.

"My Injuries were holding me back from performing at my best and there was nothing I could really do about it.

"Things like that you cant control so I'm not putting any pressure on myself.

"I'm just going to work hard and play my best each week and you never know what might happen."