Watford are still confident they CAN take to the pitch in Project Restart despite having half of the Premier League’s positive coronavirus tests and more players to follow players’ voice Troy Deeney out of training
- Watford could be central to discussions about the Premier League restarting
- Captain Troy Deeney said he would not return to training over coronavirus fears
- There could be further stars who follow the forward in boycotting training
- Three of six positive virus tests in the Premier League came from Watford
- Chairman Scott Duxbury and club chiefs are said to be relaxed over returning
- Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19
Captain Troy Deeney has been one of the strongest voices, articulating the concerns of those players with health worries and being the first in the league to say explicitly that he will not be coming back to train as things stand.
Manager Nigel Pearson has spoken well about not forcing his players into situations they are not comfortable with and his own fears about the injury risks if top flight stars are not given enough preparation time.
Troy Deeney said he would not return to Watford training amid fears over the coronavirus
Midfielder Tom Cleverley arrives for training as the club begins plans to get the squad in shape
Goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes is also seen heading into the training complex in London Colney
Three out of six positive coronavirus tests in the Premier League came from Watford FC
Chairman Scott Duxbury is one of the senior executives who deserves credit for putting his name to his relegation-threatened club’s position and admitting, totally reasonably, how that is influenced by self-interest.
On Tuesday Watford were at the heart of the matter again when it was confirmed that three of the six positive tests were at their club, one player and two members of staff.
They will now isolate away from the training ground which Watford can now say with some confidence is coronavirus free. Of the 748 tests carried out across the league six came back positive.
Watford returned to training on Wednesday but players could follow Deeney in staying away
Youngster Joao Pedro wore a mask as he linked up with the rest of the Watford squad
Watford’s situation might seem like a dreaded scenario among what has otherwise been received as a positive first bulletin from the Premier League following the league-wide checks, that 50 per cent of the cases have been discovered at one club.
It is one that has sparked questions about how a club would react and what the impact would be if they receive similar results once football resumes.
It is one that is likely to influence the decisions of those players on the fence about coming back.
Duxbury urged Watford’s players to try their best to try and give the new football environment a go during talks last week.
Manager Nigel Pearson wants his players to be comfortable with a return if the season resumes
Chairman Scott Duxbury and Watford chiefs are said to be relaxed about resuming the season
Players were spotted filtering in to their London Colney complex on Wednesday as Tom Cleverley and Heurelho Gomes were seen driving into training.
Pearson watched over the session wearing a mask, while Roberto Pereyra was pictured being put through his paces on the pitch and Kiko Femenia started some weight training on the sidelines.
More are expected to follow Deeney and give a return to restricted training a miss, even though the counter-argument is that they also now have confirmation of how safe it will be to mix with others who are allowed into the club’s Hertfordshire base.
Roberto Pereyra is seen back on the pitch as he looks to get his fitness up before the restart
Kiko Femenia gets back to work as he does some weights training next to the practice pitches
It is a reflection of how far away it is felt matches are that there is no panic at Watford who remain ‘really relaxed’ following Tuesday’s developments.
They have not even contemplated yet what they would do should a similar raft of results affect a significant number of their playing squad close to a game day.
They, like all the other players and clubs across the league, are waiting for details from the government, Premier League and medical experts on what phase two of the return to training entails.
Pearson uploaded a picture after walking with his daughter while wearing a mask last week
The club are focused on making sure players are satisfied with returning to the training ground
Satisfactory guarantees will have to come during those talks about the next stage long before the prospect of matches is a genuine concern. It is simply felt that it is too soon.
The current priority is on Wednesday’s return to training, ensuring those who come back are comfortable with doing so or those who give it a miss know they are supported.
Whether that is a result of taking those with the virus temporarily out of the picture or the words of Deeney, Pearson and Duxbury Watford hope everyone who needs it has the reassurances they require.