Aston Villa: Dean Smith reveals some players may be unavailable if Premier League restarts
Smith tells The Football Show that Villa are keen to complete season and secure Premier League status
By Peter Smith
Last Updated: 05/05/20 6:18pm
Dean Smith says Aston Villa are facing the prospect of playing without at least two of their squad members due to the risk of coronavirus infection, should the Premier League season resume.
The Aston Villa boss revealed to The Football Show that one of his players is asthmatic and another has a vulnerable mother-in-law living with the family and there is a real possibility the team could return to training and matches without them.
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"Everybody wants to get back into training but they also want to see what the medical protocols are first," said Smith. "There's a certain risk attached to the return to training for all players and I think they want to make sure they tick the boxes so it's safe to do so.
"We've got a player who is asthmatic, we've got a player whose mother-in-law is in remission and living with the family. You have to be very careful, certainly the transmission knows no boundaries.
"From what I'm told, we have to be led by the government at the moment. There's a lot of hypothetical questions out there at the moment but until we get the guidance from the government about how they want to move forward out of this lockdown there are a lot more questions than there are answers at this moment.
"The players' health and safety is paramount and if they're not comfortable to return then you have to return without them, when it's safe to do so. We have to listen to our players, we have to listen to their concerns. If the protocols say we can move forward then the ones who can do will do so."
Smith's season review
Villa sat second from bottom in the Premier League when the lockdown forced the suspension of the season. However, victory in their game in hand on the teams around them would lift them out of the relegation zone.
Smith says Villa are eager to get back to playing when it is safe to do so to complete their campaign and he has been using the pause in the season to analyse how his side have performed so far and what they can do to improve in the future.
"I've been having regular chats with the coaching staff about how we adapt to the new situation, what it might look like," he said. "But it's also given me time to review and reflect on what we've done so far.
"I've managed to do a video chat with each individual player and review their season so far, how they think they've done and how I think they've done, and we're having regular group chats now.
"We have a once-a-week chat with the players, talking about little things and they watch a couple of games and review back to us. We've had to be a little bit innovative in what we do but the compliance of the players has been excellent.
"Nobody wants to have this pandemic but it has given us the opportunity to review where we're at and reflect on what we've done so far.
"I'd never get a chance during the season to have a chat with my players for an hour, just on their season so far, what they need to improve on, how I feel they've done. Or to go back and watch every single game.
"The season is fast-paced, you finish one game and you're already planning for the next game and this gives us that chance to just pause, reset, reflect and hopefully move forward and be better for it."
Advice for asthma suffers during the coronavirus pandemic
According to Asthma UK the NHS now say that you would be considered at very high risk if ALL THREE of these things apply to you: You have asthma, AND you are taking certain extra controller medicines as well as a preventer inhaler, AND you are taking continuous or frequent oral steroids. The British Thoracic Society also says that you are at very high risk if you are taking a biologic therapy for severe asthma.
For more details visit asthma.org.uk
Premier League restart: A key week ahead
This is 'a significant week for the future of football in this country', according to Sky Sports' latest podcast.
In an in-depth preview, Sky Sports News' chief reporter Bryan Swanson and reporter Kaveh Solhekol explain where Project Restart - the plan to resume football in England - is up to, what needs to happen before football can return and the hurdles which must still be overcome.
Read an edited version of their explainer or listen to their analysis in full on a special Sky Sports Football podcast.
Watch The Football Show every weekday from 9-11am on Sky Sports News and Sky Sports Premier League and get involved using #SkyFootballShow