Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum has played just 81 minutes of football in the past month, with illness prompting a battle for match fitness.
The 27-year-old has linked up with the Netherlands squad for this month’s clashes with England and Portugal, however, along with Virgil van Dijk.
And speaking to Dutch publication De Telegraaf while on international duty, Wijnaldum revealed how he was “hit by a violent infection, which caused me to lose weight.”
Wijnaldum detailed the club doctor’s evasive action in keeping him away from Melwood, in fear that he would “infect other players.”
“It lasted for two weeks,” he said, adding how prescribed antibiotics “made me sicker,” and after making his recovery he has been forced to play catch-up.
“I had to work on my fitness again. I have trained hard, but on Saturday I noticed that I need rhythm for the way I want to play,” he recalled.
“It’s going better, but I’m not as fit as before I got sick.”
His situation is similar to that of Ragnar Klavan, with the centre-back telling Estonian outlet Soccernet how he “lost six-and-a-half pounds” due to a virus in January, before suffering a hamstring injury.
“The timing of the injury was a bit bad—I don’t get injured very often, but I got exactly when the world’s most expensive midfielder is brought in,” he said.
“I gave up my position on a plate. Unfortunately, you can not choose how and when you get injured. After that, I knew that it would be difficult to win my position back.”