Vrancic focused on returning from shutdown fully fit for City and Bosnia

Mario Vrancic celebrates his only goal of the season so far, during a 2-2 home draw with Tottenham i

Mario Vrancic celebrates his only goal of the season so far, during a 2-2 home draw with Tottenham in December Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Mario Vrancic is focused on emerging from football’s shutdown in the best physical condition possible for Norwich City, after fitness frustrations hampered his first Premier League season.

The midfielder turns 31 in May and will enter the final 12 months of his City contract later in the year, having started just four top-flight games, thanks mostly to a calf injury which ruined the first half of his campaign.

Vrancic played a pivotal role in City’s promotion, with 10 goals and seven assists from 36 Championship games last season. However, his only goal in 12 appearances so far has come in a 2-2 home draw with Tottenham in December.

His form during 2018-19 earned a recall to the Bosnia & Herzegovina squad last summer, for the first time in over two years, although he was an unused substitute for Euro 2020 qualifiers in Finland and Italy.

Asked if he was annoyed that he hadn’t been able to join up with his national team again since those games, speaking to Dnevni Avaz, a national newspaper in his homeland, Vrancic said: “I have no reason to be angry. I’m healthy and that’s the most important thing.

“I use this time to stay fit, which is always the most important thing for me.”

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The former Paderborn midfielder is waiting for news of when the Premier League will be able to resume amid precautions put in place to combat the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

He knows he now has time on his side internationally though, with the European Championship postponed until 2021, as is Bosnia’s home play-off semi-final against Northern Ireland - with Slovakia or the Republic of Ireland awaiting the winner.

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Vrancic, who has six international caps, said in the interview that he had been working towards resuming training with City in early May - but that timescale is likely to have changed since.

“I am currently in Germany, Frankfurt, where I train individually,” he said. “From the club we got a plan and programme of work.

“I’m not in isolation, but of course, I’m paying attention to everything. Otherwise, I go out just to train or shop. I read a lot, I train according to the club programme and of course, I rest a bit.”

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