Watford captain Troy Deeney has said he will not return to small-group training this week due to fears about the health of his young son.
Deeney, 31, has aired his views on multiple occasions throughout the Premier League suspension and was a leading figure when the players spoke to the Premier League about the return to training protocol.
Speaking to Eddie Hearn and Tony Bellew’s Talk The Talk podcast, Deeney revealed why he will not be returning to this week after Premier League clubs unanimously voted in favor to do so.
“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. “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.”
Previously Deeney had said he doesn’t care about finances and would rather put his family first than being paid to captain Watford in the Premier League, as several players (Sergio Aguero, Glenn Murray and Raheem Sterling the most vocal) about returning.
Deeney then detailed the specific questions he asked the PL and medical experts during the players’ meetings and he highlighted the fact that members of the BAME community in the UK have been heavily impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
“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.”
That last comment on the start date for games has been addressed by Premier League CEO Richard Masters and it is likely the June 12 start date will be moved back to enable players time to return to full fitness.
June 19 or June 26 now seems like a more achievable starting date but that can only happen as and when the league, clubs, players, the UK government and medical staff agree on how they can restart contact training in larger groups.