Scotland striker Lyndon Dykes says he’s just happy to be back playing football after being hospitalised with pneumonia.
The 27-year-old fell ill in January and spent eight days in hospital, describing the experience as “scary” and admitting that football was far from his thoughts as he focused on his treatment and recovery.
Now in Glasgow preparing for Scotland’s European Championship qualifiers against Cyprus and Spain, Dykes looked back on his battle and how he felt during a surprising and sudden illness.
“I am feeling much better, happy to be back on the pitch playing football and not in a hospital bed,” the Queens Park Rangers forward said.
“It went from 0-100 really quickly. It was pretty serious and I was in hospital for eight days.
“It was scary. I had flu symptoms, temperature, coughing and I played 75 minutes against Swansea and wasn’t feeling too great, tried to battle on but had to come off.
“I stayed at home a few days, then tried to train at QPR and that was the night I went into hospital. Walking into a critical illness wasn’t very nice. It was concerning.
“My breathing was heavy, you could see my chest move quite a lot and it was quite hard to get my breaths out.
“It is not a nice feeling. I didn’t have any energy and couldn’t get out of bed. I couldn’t do much. I was on antibiotics and medication that week, but it didn’t touch it.
“I needed a CT scan and that’s when I knew there was pneumonia in my lungs and by that time I was struggling to breathe and it was hard to move around.
“I wish no one to be in that situation.”
The international striker, who has eight goals from his 26 caps, now feels fit and ready to give his all for Scotland, having returned to club football recently. He revealed that the speed of his recovery had been faster than experts had anticipated.
“The doctors and specialist are quite shocked at how early I’m back being involved,” Dykes said. “Even myself, I’m a little bit shocked but I was happy to get back out, obviously to slowly build myself up because I didn’t do much for so long.
“I just eased myself back in and I’ve been getting a few games with QPR, which is great before being lucky enough to get chosen and come here with the Scotland boys.”
Now the forward is hoping to get a starting spot for the first two qualifiers in the national team’s bid to reach Euro 2024. After missing out on the World Cup, there’s an extra determination for the players to make the next major finals.
“After what I went through, I was looking forward to come away with Scotland,” he said. “The feeling around the camp is amazing.
“You can feel the energy that we have built and that has been a major thing.
“It was tough watching the World Cup. After us going to the 2020 Euros and being involved in that, everything that we are not involved in is going to hurt.
“We all want to play in major tournaments. We have to keep building together to make sure when these opportunities come up, we don’t miss out.
“The last thing we want to do is sit at home watching the games on television thinking we should be there, so we need to make sure we are focused and ready.”