YANN Kermorgant revealed his own body told him to postpone his retirement and sign a new contract with Reading FC.

The veteran striker, who turned 36 last week, performed a shock u-turn recently by shelving plans to hang up his boots to pen a new deal until summer 2019.

The enigmatic Frenchman was due to call time on his career at the end of this season.

But after finishing the club’s top scorer last season with 19 goals he had a change of heart and vowed to spend another year with Jaap Stam’s team.

And despite undergoing surgery in the summer following a freak training-ground accident, Kermorgant is confident his body can still cope with the demands of professional football.

“I’m really happy to have extended my deal,” he said. “Last season I thought about retiring at the end of this one, but I was also thinking we might get promoted and that I would be able to finish in the Premier League.

“Unfortunately we didn’t, so I’ve given myself an extra chance to reach that this season and maybe be in the Premier League next season. I’m more than happy to try another time.

“I’m really thankful to the staff and the manager and the board. It was part of their decision to reward me for last season.

“I played a big part last season and played a lot of games. In terms of fitness, I don’t feel that old and I still feel like I can play a part.

“When I was thinking about retiring, I was waiting to see how I felt at the end of the season. I had played almost 90 minutes in almost every game without feeling abnormal fatigue. I feel like I can play another year.”

Pre-season did not get off to the best of starts for Kermorgant after he suffered a serious injury in training at Hogwood Park which required hip and groin surgery and ruled him out for the first three months of the Championship campaign.

Local Berkshire:

Yann Kermorgant shakes hands on a new contract with Reading chief executive, Ron Gourlay.

But the former Bournemouth frontman has made a full recovery and came off the bench in last three Championship matches which include back-to-back wins over Derby County and Nottingham Forest.

Those victories also moved Royals away from the bottom teams and within eight points of the play-offs with a game in hand.

And Kermorgant has not given up hope of securing a top-six berth this time after last season’s success when Stam’s men finished third before losing to Huddersfield in the play-off final.

“I’m still ambitious, even if I’m getting older,” he declared. “I still want to play a big part this season and I want to push for something.

“We haven’t had a great start but I still think we can turn things around. I will do my best to help my team to get better and to get back to where we would like to be.

“Unfortunately I had an injury in pre-season but now I am back and almost fit. I need some games to get fully fit, but hopefully we can close the gap on the top six.”

Kermorgant’s absence hit Royals hard in the early months of the season as Stam’s men struggled for goals, scoring just nine times in their opening 10 league fixtures.

But that drought looks to be over following a 3-1 home win over Nottingham Forest and 4-2 victory at Derby County most recently.

“It was so, so frustrating, especially when your team is struggling and you can’t help them,” he admitted. “It was an unfortunate accident at training, the sort of thing you can’t avoid.

“I always play at 100 per cent, even in training. I can think after, ‘I shouldn’t have done it’, but that’s part of my game.

“But that’s done and behind me, and now I’m in the process of getting fitter. Now the focus is on the season and trying to win the maximum amount of games and getting as close as we can over Christmas.

“It’s not too late. Of course it makes it more difficult but we must believe in ourselves and play like we have been recently. We can improve quite a lot, I’m sure we can get better and win more games.”