Marco Stiepermann has opened up about the health issues that prompted him to leave Norwich City - revealing fears he has been dealing with the effects of long Covid.

Stiepermann left the Canaries 'by mutual agreement' this summer with 12 months left on his current deal. The popular double Championship title winner was diagnosed with coronavirus and later Epstein-Barr virus during the final year of his time in Norfolk.

The former Borussia Dortmund trainee has since returned to Germany with his family, where he continues to get treatment, and any prospect of a return to professional football remains on hold.

"I had health problems throughout the past season and was often out," he said. "I didn't want to sit out the contract, I wanted to get really healthy again and then attack things again. I'm glad the club agreed to terminate the contract. Now I don't feel any pressure and can decide for myself when I'm ready for a new challenge.

"In the high stress phase during games and training, I kept getting dizzy spells. For half a year I didn't know what was wrong with me and no one could help me. At the end of 2020, the Epstein-Barr virus was diagnosed and the doctors assume that I also suffer from long Covid.

"There were also a few symptoms such as severe headaches and exhaustion. I went to the neurologist and he thought long Covid was the only explanation for my complaints. Other viruses would not settle in this way.

"The last year has been tough as hell. Because of the constant complaints, I was less able to be there for my family. Fortunately, things are looking up now.

"Every two weeks I go to Munich to see a sports medicine specialist who among other things helps me through 'dry needling' (a form of acupuncture). This method relaxes all my muscles, I feel a lot better."

Stiepermann, interviewed for weekly magazine Sport Bild, admitted it was still a difficult call to turn his back on the Canaries' Premier League return.

"It feels weird to be without a contract. Sure, I would have loved to have taken the year in the Premier League with me, but I decided on my health," he said. "If I had kept going, I don't know how long my body would have gone through this after an excruciating year.

"I've been promoted twice with Norwich and have had a season in the Premier League. That was just great, nobody can take that away from me. My goal now is to get 100% fit again and to play for a professional club again in the new season - preferably in Germany."