Watford captain Troy Deeney will return to training after positive government talks
Deeney on abuse after speaking out: "I saw some comments in regards to my son, people saying: 'I hope your son gets coronavirus.'"
Last Updated: 28/05/20 2:10pm
Watford captain Troy Deeney will return to training after holding positive talks with the Government's deputy chief medical officer.
Deeney refused to go back to work when the Premier League launched Project Restart, explaining his primary concern is the health of his son, who was born prematurely and has breathing problems, but will now rejoin his team-mates next week.
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"I only said that I wasn't going back for the first week," Deeney told CNN Sport, after Premier League clubs unanimously approved a return to contact training. "People took that as I'll never go back."
Deeney also raised concerns about the disproportionate amount of coronavirus deaths in the BAME community.
However, some of his fears have now been alleviated after a few conversations with Dr Jonathan Van-Tam, the Government's deputy chief medical officer.
He added: "Jonathan is doing really well, again, not only answering questions. He has also been honest enough to say at times: 'I don't have the answer'.
"The first conversation I had with Jonathan was maybe three weeks ago. The last conversation we had was on Friday and he had so much more information, so much more detailed analysis.
"So it just filled me with confidence that he's trying his best to make sure that we have all the information. The risk factor will be down to players."
Deeney also revealed he has been the subject of abuse from online trolls and had people shouting at him in the street after voicing his concerns about Project Restart.
"I saw some comments in regards to my son, people saying: 'I hope your son gets coronavirus'," he said. "In a time where it's all about mental health and everyone says: 'Speak up, speak out,' Danny Rose spoke out ... and I spoke out and we just get absolutely hammered and battered for it."
Analysis: Communication and confidence required
Sky Sports' Jamie Carragher, speaking on The Football Show...
"I think the players just wanted communication and confidence.
"It sounds like Troy Deeney has come round after having some conversations with medical advisers. Communication was always a major part of Project Restart. There seemed like a lot of meetings between chairman and CEO's but it is the players that are most at risk by going back on the pitch. They needed convincing more than anyone.
"The Premier League needed to take players on this journey with them to get Project Restart going. Every squad will have players that have reservations and it's up to the Premier League to convince them. I feel Premier League training grounds will be the safest workplace for anyone over the next few weeks."
Premier League clubs will hold another crucial conference call on 'Project Restart' on Thursday morning, their second meeting in two days. Sky Sports News' chief reporter Bryan Swanson answers the key questions...
- Why are clubs meeting again so soon?
- Is confidence growing?
- Will more positive tests cause alarm?
- When can we expect a decision on a restart date?
- Could the season still end early?
Four more people from three Premier League clubs have tested positive for coronavirus after the third round of testing.
There were 1,008 tests carried out on Monday and Tuesday - and a fourth round will take place on Thursday and Friday, with up to 60 people from each club to be tested.
It is not yet known whether the four new positive tests are players, non-playing staff, or a combination of both - or whether any of the positives are from people who tested positive in the first round and who have returned after self-isolating for seven days.
Premier League clubs voted unanimously on Wednesday to approve a return to contact training, in another significant step towards the resumption of matches "when safe to do so".
The significance of contact training is that it's the single biggest step towards the resumption of matches.
Throughout the pandemic, there have been concerns raised about the risks associated with training and what it takes for coronavirus to be transmitted on the pitch.
If there is no spike in positive tests, with fewer negative results over more tests, it will give the authorities, and clubs, the confidence that it will be safe to resume competitive games next month.
If everything goes to plan with contact training, a third vote, on a specific date, is expected in due course.