Vladimir Darida is back! After returning to training, he spoke to us about his health, the competition for places and his goals for the rest of the season.
Berlin – Wrapped up in a hat and gloves, Vladimir Darida walked off the training pitches at Schenckendorffplatz on Wednesday morning (03.01.17). The Blue-Whites had just completed a high—tempo training session with tackles flying in and exhausting sprints. Despite the tough work, the Czech midfielder looked like he could do it all over again. His joy at being back with the team and back playing football again was clear to see. Everyone who was watching the second training session of the year could tell how happy the midfielder was to be back. “I am delighted to be back on the pitch without being in any pain. It feels great,” the 27-year-old said and admitted that, whilst taking a short holiday in Dubai, he couldn’t wait to get back to work. Back in Berlin, Darida spoke to Herthabsc.de about his health, the competition for places and his goals for the rest of the season.
Herthabsc.de: Vladi, since the middle of October, you have been out with a knee injury. How hard has it been for you to have sit on the side and not be able to help the team?
Darida: Obviously it hasn’t been easy for me. It took a while until we got a proper diagnosis and then we decided I needed to have an operation. But the decision to have keyhole surgery was a good one. I’m not having problems anymore and I can carry out all the exercises without holding back. Last season I was out for a bit longer. It was an ankle injury then. And that was a bit different when I got hit on the ankle afterwards in training or in a game. I am just really happy now to be back playing again without being in any pain. It feels really good.
Herthabsc.de: The Winter break this year is really short, the first game of the second half of the season against VfB Stuttgart (13.01.18) is in less than 10 days. Is that game too soon for you to make your comeback?
Darida: I am fully fit and if I wasn’t, then I wouldn’t be able to train with the squad. And it is great to be able throw myself back into things once again. But I do have to wait, of course, to see what the boss has planned for me and what his decision is. We will definitely talk about it in the next few days.
Herthabsc.de: After 17 games, we are on 24 points and in 10th place in the Bundesliga. What are your thoughts on the last few months?
Darida: It was important that we ended with the wins against Hannover and Leipzig. 24 points at this stage, having also had the Europa League to think about is OK. We want to pick up more points in the second half than we did in the first. We will probably rotate less than in the first half of the season so the team that does play will have to be more stable.
Herthabsc.de: Hertha had a lot of games in the first half of the season, with the DFB-Pokal and the Europa League and now there are still 17 left in the Bundesliga. That has resulted in a big competition for places in the squad…
Darida: And I think that’s good, as long as everyone goes about it fair and respectfully. Every player has to show in every training session that they deserve to play on the weekend. And it means the team will continue to develop and we can continue to improve. It’s the same for me too. We have quite a few options in central midfield. I don’t mind whether I play as an attacking or defensive midfielder – that’s up to the boss.