Jarstein speaks on comeback after 468-day-layoff: "If the coach needs me, I'm ready."
By Peter Vice @ViceytheSS
After his first deployment in 468 days, 37-year-old Norwegian keeper Rune Jarstein made clear to Steffen Rohr of German footballing magazine Kicker that he felt ready to assist his club Hertha as a reliably ready #2.
|Rune Jarstein.||Photo: Football.ua/Creative Commons/CC-by-SA 3.0|
It had been 468 agonizingly long days since the 37-year-old 72-times capped Norwegian international graced the pitch. A nightmarish sequence of events which included a COVID-induced hospital stay and knee surgery led to the club veteran missing all of last season. Jarstein went from being Pal Dardai's designated #1 to contemplating forced retirement in the hectic span of a few months.
"It took a very long time," a pleased, if not somewhat exasperated Jarstein noted after his 45 minutes on Saturday, "A long time. "At the beginning of the week it was clear that I would play. I was very happy yesterday and today and felt a bit of the pressure. It was an awesome feeling."
"The knee feels good again," Jarstein responded when asked about his primary ailment, "everything is finally good again. I'm satisfied with my fitness levels, even though it's somewhat odd to be back on the pitch. I feel good, I utilize every day to train well."
New Hertha trainer Sandro Schwarz clearly needs the man who moved to Berlin from Viking Stavanger in 2014 to function as his primary back up. The Charlottenburg capital city side, after unloading Alexander Schwolow and Marcel Lotka in order to clear a path for Danish net-minder Oliver Christensen, only maintain Ernst Tjark (19), Robert Kwasigroch (18), and Tim Goller (17) on the roster.
While the youngsters accrue experience, Schwarz needs at least one more year out of Jarstein should anything happen to the designated first-choice. Schwarz also spoke on Jarstein's comeback after the test match.
"When a player has been out for a long time, [the return] touches you," Schwarz noted, "Second exhibition fixture. Nice crowd. Small stadium. That all amounts to a good atmosphere for a return to the pitch."
Jarstein himself made clear that he understood his charge.
"I still have a year," the Norwegian insisted. "I'm giving it my all. If the coach needs me, I'm ready."
"We have a good goalkeeping group," Schwarz added, "I have a very good relationship with Oliver Christensen as well. We talk often, even if Danish is a funny language."