Werder Bremen and USA striker Josh Sargent is staying upbeat amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak and believes the current football-free period could help his side to “calm down” and clear their heads of the relegation battle.
Florian Kohfeldt’s side have since returned to training under strict guidelines, which include working in small groups, maintaining social distancing and avoiding tackles. While the circumstances are far from normal, Sargent believes he and his teammates are coping well.
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“It’s a special situation right now,” said the 20-year-old at an online press conference at Bremen’s training centre. “The most important thing is that everybody is safe and we’re doing this so that everybody can be safe. But it’s been good. We’re staying sharp.
“The groups change every day – it’s never really the same. We’re trying to mix it up and make it as different as we can. We’re with different players each day so we’re all in communication and playing with each other. We’re trying to make it a normal week for us as best we can, whether that’s shooting, passing, fitness or running.”
Creative training programmes aside, Sargent admitted the break from play could prove beneficial for Bremen, giving the players time to breathe during what would ordinarily be a stressful and exacting relegation scramble.
“It’s a time for us to kind of calm down a bit. It’s a good time for a lot of injured players to come back and regroup… Everyone’s focus is on staying in the Bundesliga. We’ll all fight to the end until that happens.”
On a personal level, the young forward said he is coping well despite the distance from his friends and family back in the States.
“I’m as good as I can be right now. I’m still healthy and I think I’m doing what a lot of people are doing – just relaxing at home, watching Netflix, and waiting for this weird time to pass by.
“I definitely worry about my family and friends back at home. Obviously in America it’s not a very good situation right now – it’s not good anywhere in the world – so I’m just keeping in contact with them to make sure everyone’s alright. As far as I know everyone’s doing OK so that’s the most important thing.”
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That includes his sister, who is a nurse working on the front line against the coronavirus pandemic in Sargent’s home city of St. Louis, Missouri.
“She has to get tested for fever before she starts work and has to put on a suit and gloves and take other precautions to be as safe as she can be. Everything’s going well for her right now and they’re all doing the best they can. I’m proud of her for doing a great job.”
So too is Sargent himself, having registered three goals and two assists across 18 Bundesliga appearances during a breakthrough 2019/20 season in which he has established himself in the Bremen first team.