Sadio Mane’s drastic regression this season has been bamboozling but NBA player Evan Fournier has said the effects of COVID-19 have left him feeling concussed.
It’s hard to believe how Mane has gone from the clutch forward that was so important to Liverpool winning their first Premier League title last season to a borderline liability at times this season.
From winning the Golden Boot in 2019 and scoring 22 and assisting 12 in 2020 to scoring just 8 league goals this season, the former Southampton high-flyer has experienced one of the most drastic regressions in recent times.
And now, quotes from Boston Celtics swingman Evan Fournier suggest that Mane could be experiencing similar effects from the coronavirus which, as we know, affects the respiratory system and induces fatigue and overall reduced stamina.
Fournier said: “The thing is, I feel like I have a concussion. Right now, it’s actually doing a little bit better. But at first, the bright lights were bothering my eyes, my vision was blurry and everything was going too fast for me.
“That is the case… My depth perception is really bad right now, but I saw a specialist and she gave me some exercises, and hopefully, I can get better.”
Alarmingly, the way Mane has been playing, it often seems as though the game passes by him. It’s almost like his touch is off and if he’s in the same boat as Fournier, his depth perception may be way off which would, of course, affect his ability to trap the ball.
Liverpool and their medical staff may have already taken a look at Mane and any symptoms he might be experiencing but if they haven’t and the NBA star’s experience is similar to the Premier League winger’s, the club needs to be on top of it as there are long term effects of the virus that are likely still unknown.
Mane appears to be a shadow of the player that we’ve seen terrify defences across Europe in the last few seasons and my hope is that he returns to his scintillating best next season after rest and pre-season allow him to recharge his depleted batteries.
World-class players don’t suddenly lose their talent or their ability to understand tactics and this seems to purely be a case of the forward struggling to keep up with the pace of the game.
And I’m sure he’s not the only player in the league that’s struggling after contracting the virus.