Sweden defender Pontus Jansson has revealed that Victor Lindelof was in tears after being ruled out of his country’s first game of the World Cup with illness.
The defender, who featured intermittently for Manchester United in his first season at the club, played in every game at Euro 2016 and featured frequently in qualifiers for the finals in Russia.
But Jansson had to step in for Lindelof after the 23-year-old was taken ill moments before the game, with Sweden going on to beat South Korea 1-0 in their opening match.
Speaking after the game, Jansson revealed how Lindelof was agonisingly laid out by an illness moments before the squad left for the stadium, noting how he shed a few tears.
“Vigge [Lindelof] texted me 15 minutes before we were going to the stadium. ‘Get ready. I feel bad again,” he said. “Then I went in to see him in his room. Vigge was very sad. He cried. I myself had a tear in the eye.”
To spend so many years working towards that moment, all that grafting and playing friendlies and mentally preparing yourself, only to be put out by an illness the day before your World Cup debut, is unimaginably painful.
This is a World Cup Lindelof could benefit from enormously when it comes to his club. He has shown signs of what he can do in a United shirt but only sporadically. The jury remains out on whether he has the physical and mental prowess necessary to earn a starting place. And these finals – the ultimate test of mental fortitude – can be a platform do stepping up a gear with your club.
Supporters will just hope to see him recover in time for his country’s clash with Germany later this week.