LONDON • Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson arrived at Melwood yesterday morning as Premier League players were allowed to return to "small group" sessions for the first time, while Watford captain Troy Deeney has refused to train.
The weeks ahead leading to the potential return of top-flight matches are set to include random inspections and GPS tracking.
The social distancing restrictions in force for the league's return to training amid the coronavirus pandemic will be monitored by a team of inspectors to ensure clubs play by the new rules.
Richard Garlick, the league's director of football, said: "We can request information from videoing of the sessions and GPS data, too. We are also looking at bringing in our own independent audit inspection team that we'll scale up over the next few days which will give us the ability to have inspections at training grounds to start with on a no-notice basis."
Initially, training sessions must be limited to 75 minutes and players can work only in groups of up to five players. A team who began contact training, large group training or held longer sessions could gain an advantage over other clubs, which is why the league is going down the inspection route.
Garlick added that the aim is to have an inspector at every training ground "to give everyone confidence that the protocols are being complied with".
Several players including Manchester City star Sergio Aguero and Deeney have raised concerns about restarting games and Deeney confirmed that he will not resume training this week owing to concerns for his son's health during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The 31-year-old told a podcast with boxing promoter Eddie Hearn and former WBC cruiserweight champion Tony Bellew: "My son is five months and he's had breathing difficulties. I don't want to come home to put him in more danger. You've got to drive in in your own kit, you can't have showers, then you've got to drive back home in the same dirty kit you've got."
News also emerged last night that there were six positive Covid-19 tests across three clubs, and the unnamed players or staff from the 748 tests conducted will now self-isolate for seven days.
Former United defender Gary Neville predicted that more players could reject a return to training.
"I know there are Premier League clubs with five or six players who don't want to return…," he told The Football Show. "We do have more problems and issues to resolve over the coming weeks."
The league's medical adviser Mark Gillett said that Public Health England had toldRead More – Source