Soccer-Switzerland's Schar bids to put horror season behind him

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FILE PHOTO: Premier League - Fulham v Newcastle United

(Reuters) - Switzerland defender Fabian Schar is hoping to put a series of injuries and suspension behind him and conclude a difficult season with a successful European Championship.

The 29-year-old made only 13 starts and six substitute appearances for Newcastle United this season but said he was ready for the tournament, where the Swiss take on Italy, Turkey and Wales in the group phase.

"I know my body, my abilities, even though I haven't played a lot lately," he told a news conference on Friday at Switzerland’s Euro 2020 preparation camp in Bad Ragaz.

Schar started the campaign at Newcastle belatedly after shoulder surgery, but was soon sidelined by a coronavirus infection before sustaining a knee ligament injury in February, which requited another operation.

He made a miraculous recovery after 10 weeks, only to be sent off against Arsenal for a tackle on Gabriel Martinelli and earn himself a suspension at the end of the season.

"It was a little stupid action on my part," Schar said.

"A three-match suspension was hard but let's say maybe that helped my knee. It's true, I was almost amazed myself that I could be back with the team 10 weeks after the operation.

"I had done everything I could to come back and my manager (Steve Bruce) trusted me straight away. But then there was the tackle and three more weeks’ break."

Schar said he had no concerns about the knee.

"If I had been scared for my knee, I probably wouldn't have tackled Martinelli and I wouldn't have been sent off."

Schar, capped 58 times, was one of the best Swiss performers at Euro 2016 in France.

"This season I've had several things, the shoulder, COVID, the knee. But the confidence is still there and it's a huge joy for me to think about the Euros, to be able to fight to earn my place," he said.

(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town, editing by Ed Osmond)