Ashton said, "You only have to look at how fantastic Michael [Owen] looks, considering the injuries he has had. I have massive confidence in John, too, and that he will get me back a better player than before.
"I want to come back quicker, stronger, fitter. People have labelled me a bit slow, a bit big; I want to come back and show that I'm strong, quick, fit and add that to my technical game and my footballing brain. I want to be a better athlete."
And John Green is pleased with the progress the player is making:
"It's not just a case of rehabilitating the ankle. Dean wants me to work with him holistically, he wants me to make him quicker and stronger while maintaining his mobility. We are also working on nutrition, as well as upper body strength. Things are looking good."
While his physical condition is finally improving, Ashton has revealed it became too troubling to attend games while his team looked well in the mire:
"I've been like the Invisible Man around this club, ghosting in and then ghosting out again. I've read some books, watched some games. I stopped coming to the matches because it was so very difficult, feeling helpless."
But despite the poor showing last term, the striker revealed his excitement at returning from injury and the prospects for West Ham next season, including Carlos Tevez:
"It's brilliant for me that I will be playing Premiership football again next season. I wouldn't have been looking to leave even if we had gone down; clubs don't sign injured players, do they? I want to be part of a West Ham team that could be really special."
"I hope he [Tevez] can stay. He was fantastic, hungry, showed a great desire, that is what pulled us out in the end. It would be a shame if he goes after just half a season of playing like that.