JACK Stevens admits it sometimes felt like there was no end in sight as Glandular fever took its toll on his body.

The Oxford United goalkeeper returned to the side for last weekend’s 3-2 win over Sheffield Wednesday – three months to the day after he was diagnosed with the illness.

Some people can take much longer to recover from an infection that saps the energy and Stevens revealed that unknown was extremely troubling.

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The 24-year-old said: “It has been the toughest part of my career so far.

“I wasn’t too aware of the illness, I naively thought it would be about two weeks.

“There was no timescale to get back to fitness, so that was the thing I was struggling with the most.

“Mentally, it was tough, but the medical staff here were brilliant and eased me back perfectly.

“Now I feel completely back to normal.”

Stevens played in United’s 2-0 home win over Shrewsbury Town on October 19, but felt increasingly unwell as the week progressed and went for blood tests.

The results came through as the U’s arrived at St George’s Park the day before their trip to Burton Albion on October 23.

United were very careful not to rush the academy graduate back after he returned to training on November 25.

Stevens played 45 minutes of a behind closed doors friendly against Brentford B on December 14, but he was still feeling the effects of the illness.

He said: “It was week-by-week, day-by-day to see how I progressed.

“At some points I couldn’t really see the light at the end of the tunnel, I was still getting tired way too easily.

“I’d do a training session and my whole day was written off, because it would wipe me out.

“It took me about three weeks to start feeling better and then even then I felt like my performance wasn’t quite catching up, because it had been so long.

“Sometimes I was overthinking stuff and the medical staff were brilliant with me.”

Things started looking up when Stevens performed well in training in the week commencing January 10 and completed 90 minutes in another friendly, against Cheltenham Town, on January 18.

He added: “It felt like I was back to how I was before.

“I played 90 minutes against Cheltenham and felt back to myself.”

It saw the stopper replace Simon Eastwood against Wednesday, despite United losing just four games in his absence.

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The pair are friends off the pitch and Stevens praised his experienced teammate.

He said: “The first few games I missed I couldn’t even go, so I was having to watch on my iPad at home.

“It was quite nerve-wracking, but the lads have done great.

“Since I’ve been here, we’ve always had good competition.

“We know Easty’s a good goalkeeper and we both know we have to push each other.

“Whoever plays has got to be at their best.”