We Can’t Trust The Players by Dan Smith
I have read a few people in the media going with the theory that if a player has been tested for the virus and is fine, all they now have to do is follow the guidelines and they are safe to play football.
That’s a big assumption to make though; that everyone is going to stick to the rules and regulations.
It sounds simple. Train with the rest of the squad who you know have been tested, then go back to isolation in a hotel between match days.
Staying away from your family for a month is what some would have been doing anyway without the pandemic as the Euros were scheduled for this summer.
Yet anyone who’s looked out their window, gone to their local shop or took a walk for exercise will know not everyone has listened to their governments.
Staying indoors, respecting social distancing, only being outside for priorities, are not hard rules to follow. It’s not like our great grandparents where you were forced to go to war.
If everyone did as they were told the easier it would be to contain the disease spreading. Yet some had to have a barbecue in groups at the park just to be defiant, refused to follow arrows round the shop if there was a quicker way to get to the milk, while my street keep gathering every day when before neighbours never even spoke to each other.
So, sorry, basing your hopes that footballers will now stay healthy as long as they follow a certain criteria is not enough. You can’t just gamble on a person’s welfare based on them giving you their word.
When you play you have to keep your fingers crossed that no one in the opposition has broken protocol.
Why the assumption is made that our talented players will be on their best behaviour now, when we had numerous examples of them doing what they want for the last 2 months?
Because now they have dates to work towards? Why does that change anything?
Clubs from March were giving direct instructions then just as much they are now. It’s not like managers said, ‘The season might not restart, I’ll call you when I hear something but until I do your on your own’.
Here’s so far, the body of work of the young men who are going to train, have some veg, drink hot coco and have lights off before 10 apparently. After all they wouldn’t possibly climb out of their window and go partying …….
Spurs – Serge Aurier – Quite incredibly the defender has managed to break social distancing rules three times now (and those are just the times he been caught). I have checked that he speaks and understands English, but he simply doesn’t care. Not just has he invited a barber into his house, he put photos of the two of them on social media. Again, utter defiance. The irony being if he were allowed, I bet he wouldn’t take that image?
Jose Mourinho – if there was one manager who you had to guess was going to be too big to listen to guidelines it was him. He got caught training in a park with Ndombele.
This made it awkward for Spurs to reprimand Sissoko when he did the same. Who was he was exercising with? You guessed it, our mate Aurier again.
Bournemouth – Ibe – One of the things to get used to since March is our hair being all over the place. Mine is the longest it’s ever been and I’m trying to grow a beard. I have nothing to lose, as in Wales we still are not allowed to visit family or friends. Ibe though simply can pay a barber to come round his house. That’s what happens when youngsters get something straight away with a click of a button. When they are asked to wait for the first time in their life …. they just can’t do it.
Man City – Kyle Walker – I have got to be careful here as poor Kyle does feel a bit picked on apparently. In his defence it was his brother’s birthday, so of course they had to book a stripper! And the only reason he drove from Manchester to Sheffield was his sister was lonely. He actually said that to a public who equally can’t see their loved ones and are on their own.
Everton – Kean
Moise Kean translated ‘only go outside to the shops and exercise and don’t invite anyone round your apartment’ to mean ……let’s have a massive house party! His ‘friend’ filmed all of this and passed it on to the press.
Villa – Grealish
At least Kean admitted to his party. Grealish’s official line was ‘Sorry I crashed my car; I was driving back from my friends.’ It was 4 am and he was wearing a white sandal and black slipper? If you just gone round your mates for 1-1 on FIFA, does that confuse you enough to put on odd shoes?
Wolves – Morgan Gibbs White
Another young man who preached online to ‘stay indoors, support the NHS’ but then ends up at a London party. Wolves are considering what action to take.
Arsenal – We are not innocent. The club have had to warn 4 of the squad about the rules. At least in the case of Luiz, Pepe and Xhaka it was to kick a ball around. It still makes them idiots, but it’s not the same as Lacazette who simply had to break social distancing advice because he needed his car washed? (I will say though, about the press who are stalking our players – should they too not be at home? Yeah, media counts as essential, but is standing outside Laca’s house classed as news?).
Chelsea / West Ham – Mount/Rice – Because they are young and British, they both got only minor criticism for having a kick about. Imagine if that was a Pogba or an Ozil?
Callum Hudson-Odoi – Whatever you think a young woman was doing entering his house at 4am it’s irrelevant, he was breaking the rules. Even worse this is a young man who’s already been in isolation for 14 days with …. drum roll…. Coronavirus! He has other issues to worry about at the moment though…
So, if I’m Troy Deeney or Kante, I’m not putting the fate of my family in the hands of my peers. There’s been too much breaking of trust already. If they broke the guidelines then, then why should now be different? If these young men were sneaking out to parties, hiring prostitutes and dancers, driving where they wanted …. why would their behaviours change?
The majority of those above had said on social media about the need for fans to stay indoors, so they knew every time they were going against their clubs wishes.
These are those who have been caught. Naturally, there will be other examples but many others will have friends who don’t sell you to the papers for a few grand.
We’d all be wise to listen to Watford’s Mariappa who’s confirmed he’s tested positive for the illness. He is adamant he doesn’t understand how he could have caught it, stressing he’s been indoors and only outside for the required reasons. So, a quick visit to the shop or a jog was enough for the virus to be passed on to him. That’s not going to reassure his captain, especially with BAME players getting zero additional testing, despite 4 times more likely to get Coronavirus.
If a player can test positive when he’s done everything asked, what will happen when the next player wants to party or entertain guests? Just think about that!
Someone followed your plan and it didn’t prevent him getting the virus so logically, those who have been rebelling are going to undermine anything you put in place. So yes, out of the 20 clubs if only the people got the virus are 6 between 3 clubs, that’s manageable in theory.
Yet if your action plan is ‘once a club knows you have tested negative you stay in your hotel room’ meaning you can’t come in contact with anyone, that logic is flawed, because it only works if you can trust every player to behave and use common sense.
The last 2 months simply proves they can’t all be trusted.
So, unless police are outside each room (and no laws are being broken) trust me – someone’s leaving that room. It takes just one person to sneak back into their hotel, having caught the virus, and he endangers his teammates and the opposition…