Liverpool loanee Nat Phillips has given his experience of German football’s restart plan as he gears up for a return to action with Stuttgart.
The 23-year-old and his side are set to face SV Wehen Wiesbaden in the 2. Bundesliga this weekend, after more than two months without a competitive fixture.
Stuttgart will resume the league campaign in second, six points behind Armenia Bielefeld and one ahead of Hamburg in the race for promotion to the Bundesliga.
“I’m really excited,” Phillips told Liverpool’s official website. “As well, with the situation our team is in – pushing for promotion – the stop came at an unfortunate time for us because it felt like we were starting to gather momentum and head in the right direction.
“So, it’s nice to get back up and running again and hopefully finish those nine games off with a strong finish and get the promotion we want.
“It has certainly been a different experience – in everyday life it has for everyone – but it has not been a massive issue at all professionally, you’ve just got to be sensible with it and respect the rules and guidelines that have been given to you.”
Phillips moved on loan to Stuttgart at the start of the season, before being temporarily recalled during an injury crisis which saw him make his Liverpool debut in the FA Cup win over Everton.
It has been a tumultuous time since his return to Germany, and he explained the measures being taken to ensure player safety.
“When we first went back, it was small groups so we’d arrive at 15 or 20-minute intervals with three or four of the players that you were training with; standard social distancing, maintaining two metres apart even around training,” Phillips said. “We all got our own parts of the dressing rooms, so there were only ever four or five players in one dressing room at a time.
“The sessions, there was no contact, it was mostly technical work, whereby you wouldn’t be coming into close contact with each other at any point during the training. And standard hygiene as well.
“We had our temperature checked every morning as we arrived at the training facility. You took your kit home, and drove to and from training in your kit. So, you didn’t spend much time at the ground and when you did you still maintained distance from each other, even on the training pitch.
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“Right now, we’re in a hotel at the moment for this week in isolation as a team, so there’s no contact with anybody outside of the football club.
“It’s just to training in the morning, straight back to the hotel – the same thing every day for the week building up to this first game.
“Even still, we’re getting our temperatures checked every morning. I think I’ve had three or four coronavirus tests already, I think they’re done roughly two or three times a week.”