Sheffield United star Sander Berge makes a big prediction about football post-coronavirus

Sander Berge, the Sheffield United midfielder, believes people will appreciate even more how much football means to them when competition resumes following the coronavirus crisis.

Sunday, 5th April 2020, 12:06 pm

With the Premier League agreeing to extend the postponement of matches for an indefinite period, Chris Wilder’s side and their supporters face going three months or more without a game unless the health situation improves.

Although the sports’ governing bodies have acknowledged the nation’s health is their primary concern, The Star has revealed how being denied the opportunity to watch their team in action could leave some supporters feeling even more isolated, as the country enters its third week of lockdown.

Berge, who like the rest of Wilder’s squad is training at home, said: “I think it’ll make everyone appreciate it more, football will be cherished even more and people will appreciate every game and training session.

“There’ll be even more interest and fire in every game, we have to look at it as a positive when we start up, whenever that is.”

Berge, aged 22, had only been in the country two months when Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a raft of measures designed to try and limit the spread of the disease. Berge and his team mates had initially continued to congregate at the Steelphalt Academy when fixtures were first suspended. But social distancing guidelines eventually made that impossible, with coaching staff now organising sessions via videolink.

Being forced to stay indoors is likely to prove particularly challenging for the likes of Berge, Panos Retsos and Richairo Zivkovic who, after also arriving at Bramall Lane from overseas in January, are now cut-off from their friends, families and loved ones.

Berge, a Norway international, became United’s record signing when he completed a £22m move from Genk.

Sander Berge, the Norway and Sheffield United midfielder, thinks people will love football even more when competition resumes following the coronavirus outbreak: Marc Atkins/Getty Images

“If I hadn’t experienced moving before it’d be tough, if it was my first adventure outside Norway,” he said. “But I’ve had 35 months alone in Belgium, so I know how to keep myself busy, enjoying my own company otherwise it’d be difficult. I always keep busy.

"Our days are structured, and we have a lot of work to do."

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Shoreham Street, outside Sheffield United's home Bramall Lane, is usually bustling on matchdays

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Sander Berge in action for Sheffield United, who were seventh in the Premier League before the fixture schedule was suspended: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

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Nancy Fielder, editor