Sheffield United midfielder Sander Berge says the first lockdown was not the “easiest period”.
Berge had only joined the club and made the move to England two months prior to the country being shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.
With no friends or family around him and having only just met his new teammates, the 22-year-old was suddenly housebound.
Berge said in April that his time in Belgium when he played for Genk helped prepare him. The Norway international revealed he was often alone then too.
Yet this was a much more extreme scenario and was one that understandably took its toll on Berge.
Luckily he had managed to play for the Blades by that point. And crucially, considering the current situation, in front of the fans.
Berge made his United debut just two days after arriving in a then club record deal.
The midfield ace started the 1-0 victory at Crystal Palace and received a very warm welcome from the 2,000 travelling supporters.
The picture of Berge standing with arms outstretched in front of them as they chanted “he’s Norwegian” has become iconic.
“It makes me smile when I see that picture and when I think about it,” he told Yorkshire Live.
“It’s a special moment and something that was with me during lockdown when it was not the easiest period.
“That was hanging there on the wall in my home and it acted as motivation to come back and show those supporters that the club had actually bought a decent player.
“That was a very special moment for me and I miss that and I hope I get to feel that again soon.”
Sander Berge is key for Sheffield United
Berge admitted that the speed and intensity of Premier League took him by surprise following his move to Bramall Lane.
The Norwegian showed glimpses of his talent last season, but was still adapting into a box-to-box role.
Berge had generally played as a defensive midfielder in his career up until that point.
Yet Chris Wilder required something different from him and that took time to get used to.
However, this term Berge has been one of the few positives in what has been a disappointing start to 2020/21 overall.
The Blades are yet to win and are bottom of the table. They have one point going into Sunday’s game with West Ham United.
But Berge has been one of the few players to impress with his powerful runs forward and strength in the middle.
If Wilder’s side are to play their way out of their current slump, then he will be crucial in achieving that.
That would truly repay the faith of the fans. Which would clearly please Berge, who already seems to have a strong connection with them.