KAI HAVERTZ admits coronavirus hit him so hard he didn’t want to think about football for a month – even though he was still turning out for Chelsea.
Havertz was struck down by Covid-19 last November and though he was back playing again within three weeks, the effects of the illness were so bad it almost wrecked his first year in England.
It was only in the final stages of the season when the 22-year-old was finally able to feel in peak condition and able to perform to the kind of levels where he showed just why the Blues splashed out £71million to sign him last summer.
That culminated in scoring the Champions League winner for Chelsea, and he has taken that form into the Euros with Germany – where he will be one of the biggest threats to England’s chance of glory.
Havertz said: “The illness has hit me hard.
“It lasted some four to five weeks before I could even think of getting back on to a football pitch.
“During the time I was ill. I was quite ill, to be honest. And I wish it upon absolutely no one.
“Then the aftermath was difficult too – I really had to work hard to get back to the pre-Covid fitness levels. You have to live with it.”
Because of the illness it was already a tough enough first year in the country for someone so young, and it has not been helped by the country being in lockdown for much of the time.
That, along with the demands of the contracted Premier League season, has meant that the attacking midfielder has hardly experienced life outside of the dressing room or his flat.
BETTING SPECIAL: GET ENGLAND TO BEAT GERMANY AT 14/1
He added: “I haven't really explored London a lot or as much as I would have liked to.
“It really is difficult to do anything in terms of leisure activities. Every three days you have an important match coming up, so there is precious little time to go sightseeing or go for a meal.
“It looks a bit bleak but that's the way it is. You come home from training and are happy about every hour that you can spend inside your own flat.
“I do hope that later, London will give me much more joy, and I'll have many, many good London experiences.”
Havertz is aware that in Germany, like in England, pundits are quick to jump on any poor performances and say he is not the player many have claimed him to be.
But he insists he knows his value for club and country, and believes the experience he and almost half the German squad have had of Premier League football will serve them well tomorrow night.
He said: “If you have a good game you are praised to high heaven, but if you play a bit underpowered in the next game then people put you in a sack and hit you with a stick.
“I know full well that if people from the outside praise me, then I in my heart of heart know that probably wasn't really that fantastic.
“But by the same token, if critics give me flak then I also know how to foster that I wasn't that bad because I can really rate my own performance well.
“The English are peppered with the world's best players, they haven't conceded a goal yet.
“Offensively they have a lot of quality. But we have them too. That's why it's going to be a duel on equal terms.
“And having a few players in our squad who do play in the English Premier League. Well, they are familiar with the level of the physicality of the opposition.”
⚽ Read our Football live blog for the very latest news from around the grounds
Source: Read Full Article