CONNOR ROBERTS revealed he feared for his life after a scare with deadly pneumonia.
Roberts says doctors could not give his wife Georgina any assurances that he would survive the potentially fatal lung-infection, never mind make a comeback and now play at a World Cup.
Roberts said: “I had pneumonia and I was in hospital for a few days. I was really, really struggling.
“My wife was at home and she was asking the doctors, ‘Is he going to be okay?’
“He couldn’t actually give her the answer that I was going to be alright because a high percentage of people who have what I had, don’t actually make it.
“So, the fact that I am still playing, and can still do what I do, is a good thing.
“Everyone knows I like to get up and down when I play and I’ll run all day so my lungs are a massive part of the ability to do that.
“I was worried because it affects the lungs and I had to have numerous scans. I was told from the people who read those scans that what I had was severe. It wasn’t a small thing.”
Following the relief of fighting off pneumonia, Roberts was given the all-clear to return for Burnley after almost two months out.
The virus as well as the arrival of his baby daughter Elsie has changed the all-action defender’s outlook on life and football.
Roberts, who is in line to win his 42nd cap against the USA to cap off a rollercoaster year, added: “I felt sound when I came back for Burnley at the back end of last season and we’ve since qualified for a World Cup, so I can’t be doing that badly.
“My life has changed a lot – I’ve got a baby daughter now, so when I play I try and do my best.
“But if I’m useless, who cares? When I go home and see her, no-one can take that away from me.
“In years gone by, at Swansea and a few games for Wales where I didn’t play as well as I know I can, I wanted to go home and beat myself up about it.
“I’d say to family and friends, ‘I’m useless. I’m done with football.’ Now, I have a different perspective. If I don’t play well, I go home and she’s smiling, nothing else matters.”
Roberts started all four of Wales’ Euro 2020 matches last summer and his nickname of the ‘Crynant Cafu’ exploded after scoring in the 2-0 victory over Turkey in Baku.
Brazil legend Cafu won the World Cup twice in 1994 and 2002.
But Roberts, from the tiny Welsh village in the Valleys situated north-east of Swansea, quipped: “His record is decent but he could only dream of being from Wales!”
On a more serious note Roberts added: “My mates started saying the nickname but I don’t know whether they had heard it from somewhere else. Everyone says it now.
“Two of my mates are going and have chucked all their life savings into getting out there.
“They want to see their mate play for their country on the biggest stage at a World Cup. It’s brilliant for them as well as myself.
“There will be a lot of eyes from my village and the Valley watching on and cheering for us.
“I never thought I’d play for Swansea, and never thought I’d get one cap for Wales, let alone 41. I just want to be able to play one minute so I can say I’ve played at a World Cup for my country.
“I’ve been on holiday a few times to Dubai and I like to run in the boiling heat. Whenever I wear the Wales jersey I feel I can run all day. It could be 100 degrees and it wouldn’t bother me.”