Premier League clubs have voted unanimously to return to training this week, despite concerns being raised by players, and Troy Deeney has revealed that he will be rejecting his club’s request to train.
The Watford forward is known for his directness, on the pitch and off of it, with the striker previously having claimed that Arsenal played without ‘cajones‘, and he has backed up his previous doubts over the ability to return safely by now refusing to return, citing the supposed the increased risk to BAME persons to the virus and the health of his small child as reasoning.
“We’re due back in this week. I’ve said I’m not going in. It’s nothing to do with financial gain,” Deeney said on Eddie Hearn and Tony Bellew’s Talk The Talk podcast. “When I go into full detail about my personal situation, everyone here will go ‘no problem’.
“My son is five months and he’s had breathing difficulties. I don’t want to come home and put him in more danger. You’ve got to drive in in your own kit, you can’t have showers, then drive back in the same dirty kit you’ve got.
“If I’m putting my clothing in with my son’s or my missus’ it’s more likely to be in the house.”
Deeney moved onto state that he raised his concerns at the Project Restart meeting last week, with those concerns not answered at all.
“Within the meeting I asked very simple questions. For Black, Asian and mixed ethnicities they are four times more likely to get the illness and we’re twice as likely to have long lasting illnesses,” Deeney said.
“Is there any additional screening? Heart stuff to see if people have got problems? No. Okay, well I feel like that should be addressed.
“If going forward, in phase two and three, which are going into smaller groups of three to six people, is there a clear layout if we hit certain targets then we will transition into 11 v 11? No, it’s six days of this, seven days of that, then a week until you’re playing.
“They want the first game to be June 12, so we’re only like three-and-a-half weeks away from that, so my thing is the transition is really fast.
“While we are being tested and while we are going to be in a very safe environment, it only takes one person in the group. I don’t want to be bringing that home.”
The virus clearly has many people concerned, and rightly so, and the fact that the league is trying to cram the remaining fixtures into a slim time-frame only highlights that time is a key factor for those higher up, while health should be the most important factor.
It remains to be seen if any other Premier League stars will be follow suit in turning down the request to return to training, nor if there will be ramifications to those who refuse.
Watford are currently outside the relegation zone on goal difference alone, and one of their key members refusing to return may well hamper their chances of securing their status in the English top tier, but nobody can blame the star for his stance.
Will Deeney just be the first to refuse? Will Watford be forced to handle the situation carefully in regards to Troy?