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The Net England Team Bath

Guthrie had glandular fever for six months

England captain Serena Guthrie has revealed she suffered a six-month bout of glandular fever before this summer’s World Cup.
The 29-year-old centre led England to bronze at the World Cup in Liverpool in July. She was diagnosed after January’s International Quad Series.

“I kind of rolled out of bed for the game, then would roll back into bed for a few more days,” Guthrie told BBC Sport.

“It made me realise how much I’d been pushing myself to get to the level that I wanted to get to.”

Guthrie, a 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medallist, also missed parts of the domestic Superleague season.

Guthrie, who won four titles with Team Bath in an eight-year spell from 2007, left Australian side Giants to rejoin her first club for the 2019 campaign, but was diagnosed shortly after.

“I have quite a holistic approach to my netball life anyway, but it wasn’t great in a World Cup year to get that news,” she said.

“We weren’t very sure what was wrong with me. It just looked like I was really sick.

“I wasn’t feeling myself after it either and I took myself to the doctor’s. I thought it was a cold and that I’d be fine, but I went to get some blood tests because there was something that didn’t feel quite right.

“I was diagnosed with a reactivation of glandular fever and I thought, ‘that explains it a bit!’.

“In the next, at least 10-12 rounds, I was out of the Superleague. I only came back between rounds 12 and 14, so I had quite a substantial time out prior to the World Cup.”

‘Thank God for Netflix!’
England beat South Africa in the play-off to claim bronze at the World Cup, having lost by two goals against New Zealand in the semi-finals.

“I’d been asked to be captain and I wasn’t really around the team as much as I would have liked to have been,” Guthrie said.

“I didn’t want to make a big song and dance about it. I just wanted to make sure I was doing the best I could to recover for it prior to World Cup selection. It was about rest and recovery, listening to the sport’s medical team.

“It was real rest. It wasn’t just one bike ride a day or anything – it was genuine rest, so it was quite tough for me to be going from doing full-time training, working and everything like that and enjoying my life to absolutely nothing, so thank God for Netflix!”

Guthrie played in all 11 of England’s matches during the tournament.

She added: “It did cross my mind whether I would be able to step out there and be the Serena that everyone – and myself – expects me to be, but when I got into it everyone was pretty calm, and it helps when you’ve got people who believe in you.

“It’s amazing how much you can push yourself through something when you don’t know what it is that you’ve actually got.”

‘The demands of the game are so intense’
Since the World Cup, Guthrie has taken a break from playing to “rest and recover” as she focuses on “off-court opportunities”.

“The demands of the game, they’re so intense and it never stops,” she said.

“It is very much just about me taking some time to get myself back into a position where I can physically and mentally get back into netball.

“I’ll be in and around the Superleague environment – from meeting sponsors to helping out with fan engagement, doing meet-and-greets.”

Although she expects to relinquish the England captaincy, she said the national team have been “very supportive” and “want me back in the fold as soon as I would like”.

She added: “I’ll have that discussion with them and go from there.

“It’s obviously a hard decision to choose to take yourself away physically from something that I absolutely love, but it feels like the right time for me to do this at that beginning of a four-year cycle.”

Serena was speaking to BBC Sport Netball