Michael Owen has revealed he missed England's summer friendlies against the United States and Trinidad and Tobago after contracting the mumps.
The Newcastle striker withdrew from Fabio Capello's squad for the end-of-season games with what was initially thought to be a virus picked up from a vaccination he was given to travel with England to the West Indies.
But hospital tests showed the 28-year-old had developed an illness that can cause painful swelling in areas other than the face.
Owen, who was forced to undertake a long period of rest, has been unable to train fully with his Newcastle team-mates since returning for pre-season.
He missed last weekend's 4-1 friendly victory over Hartlepool and will sit out tomorrow's trip to Doncaster, while he is also a doubt for his club's two-match tour to Majorca.
'When I pulled out of the England squad for the games with the United States and Trinidad and Tobago, everyone thought I had a virus,' said Owen, who has been working to a personalised training routine during pre-season.
'But it turned out that I had the mumps, and they would not let me go in case I infected any of the other England players.
'And while I would not say I was in a bad way, it wasn't very pleasant at all.
'It did affect me for a while - I was quite ill and I was not allowed to do anything for four weeks.
'When I came back to Newcastle, our doctor here worked out a programme for me and it has been a slightly different programme from the rest of the players.
'And instead of going straight into the deep end with the rest of the lads, we have just been making slow progress.
'That's why you did not see me at Hartlepool on Saturday and why I won't be out there at Doncaster Rovers on Saturday.'
Owen added in the Newcastle Chronicle: 'Perhaps I might get to play in one of the games in Majorca next weekend.
'But I should definitely be okay for our first home friendly with PSV Eindhoven on August 6.'
Meanwhile, Owen's fellow striker Obafemi Martins is in mourning following the death of his mother in Lagos.
Alhaja Monsurat Martins died aged 62 in the early hours of Thursday.
She will be buried today and Nigeria international Martins was expected to be at the prayer and burial ceremony.