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Adrian Mariappa: Watford defender reveals positive coronavirus test

"If it wasn't for the fact I had gone back to training and had this test, then I'd never have found out that I had the virus and I would just be getting on with things as normal," says Watford defender

Adrian Mariappa
Image: Adrian Mariappa has tested positive for coronavirus

Adrian Mariappa has revealed he is the Watford player who tested positive for coronavirus.

Mariappa was one of six positive results to come back from the first round of Premier League testing this week, along with two members of Watford staff and Burnley assistant manager Ian Woan.

The 33-year-old defender said he had not displayed any symptoms prior to being informed of his positive result on Tuesday and will now self-isolate for seven days, with a view to being tested again next week.

"It's quite scary how you can feel absolutely fine and not really have left the house, and yet still get the virus," Mariappa told Telegraph Sport.

"If it wasn't for the fact I had gone back to training and had this test, then I'd never have found out that I had the virus and I would just be getting on with things as normal. That's obviously quite a strange thought."

Watford club captain Troy Deeney revealed earlier this week his decision to not return to non-contact small group training amid concerns for his own son's health, as well as that of BAME players.

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PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor admits he has concerns for people from BAME backgrounds, who have been linked with an increased risk of not surviving coronavirus, as he looks for reassurances for footballers before they return to the game

The Professional Footballers' Association has asked the Premier League to conduct further research into the effect of coronavirus on players from ethnic minority backgrounds.

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Mariappa said he has felt "as fit as ever" during lockdown, while following a personalised fitness plan, but his immediate focus is with his family.

"I live with three of my children, who are five, nine and 11, and my partner and, obviously, now I'm a bit worried about them," he said.

"They are all fine and are not showing any symptoms, but you can't help but think about it and keep your distance once you know you've tested positive."

'The good news is he's well'

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Watford head coach Nigel Pearson says the club will respect the decisions of players who decide they do not want to return to training amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Analysis from Sky Sports News reporter Gary Cotterill...

"The good news is that Adrian Mariappa is well, feels well and isn't displaying any symptoms. His family appears to be well, too. As a precaution, he has to stay away for at least seven days from the training ground along with two members of staff who haven't been identified.

"Because only 40 tests were carried out of a playing squad of about 30, that means that 10 others would have been people working on the frontline of football - the coaches, the technical staff and the medical staff - and two of those also is having to stay at home for the time being.

"My understanding is that Adrian didn't want his name to come out - he'd asked the club for it not to be revealed, but word had got out and there was a leak somewhere, it was going to be in the Daily Telegraph, and so he was persuaded to write this statement, setting everybody's minds at ease."

'We need to wait for trends'

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Sky Sports News' chief reporter Bryan Swanson confirms that six individuals at three clubs of the 19 tested so far have produced positive coronavirus results

Analysis by Bryan Swanson, chief reporter, Sky Sports News...

The fact there are six positive tests must be taken seriously.

Those individuals, whether players or non-playing staff, will have to self-isolate for seven days before they take a further COVID-19 test.

They cannot attend the training ground and three clubs will now want to establish what contact those individuals had with other people, in particular in the same household.

In theory, they should not have come into close contact with anyone outside their household since March, under the government's social distancing rules.

It is also important to highlight more than 99 per cent of people have tested negative in the first round.

These figures, across 19 clubs, show that coronavirus is not widespread in Premier League clubs at the moment, at least not amongst the 40 people tested per club.

One club only carried out testing on Tuesday, and their data will be included in the next round of figures.

Up to 50 people from each club will be tested in each round going forward, twice a week, after a request by clubs, meaning up to 2,000 test results a week will be provided to the Premier League.

Prenetics, the company conducting the tests, has told Sky Sports News it can cope with increased demand.

The second round of test results are due to be published on Saturday, before clubs hold talks next week about the potential return of contact training.

We need to wait for trends, using further rounds of results, before we can assess the significance of these figures and establish whether the authorities feel it is safe to resume competitive games next month.

Carra: Test results a huge positive for PL

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Jamie Carragher says the Premier League will be hugely relieved with the low number of confirmed cases in its first round of coronavirus testing

Speaking on The Football Show, Jamie Carragher said the Premier League will be "hugely relieved" at the low numbers of positive tests returned on the first day back at training, adding that the results could provide reassurance for other players considering avoiding their clubs' training grounds.

"I think it was a massive positive," he said. "Less than one per cent of the people tested came back with a positive result. If there had been 20 or 30 tests, that would've been a huge problem and there would have been a big reaction, but this morning you can see it's been a positive in terms of actually getting the season restarted. I think that's well on the way.

"It is only phase one, there is a situation at Watford, the situation with Troy Deeney and talk of other players not coming in, but I'm not sure I get that - the safest place to be at the moment is the football training grounds or stadiums. The players and staff who've tested positive have done it from outside, they've been tested now, and they have to self-isolate.

"People going into training grounds in the next few days will be fine and COVID-free. We all have families and different worries, but it was a huge positive for the Premier League yesterday and a positive in some ways we found out who has COVID-19, so the players and clubs can get back on with training in small numbers. Richard Masters and the Premier League will be hugely relieved."

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