Coronavirus: 12 players who have raised concerns about Premier League returning too soon

Southampton FC v Aston Villa - Premier League

The return of the Premier League could come as early as June.

The government has opened the door for the 2019/20 season to resume, with the league eyeing June 12 as a potential restart date.

So far players have been limited to individual training, but 75-minute team sessions could take place next week.

The Bundesliga season will return this weekend and it may only be a few more weeks before England’s top flight continues as well.

However, ‘Project Restart’ hasn’t been met with total agreement from the players at this point.

Many have been vocal with their concerns about returning too soon, including Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling and Troy Deeney.


GiveMeSport has rounded up quotes from 12 Premier League players who have gone public with their thoughts about rushing back.

Danny Rose | Newcastle (on loan from Spurs)

“It’s a f***ing joke, I’m not even going to lie,” Rose said, per talkSPORT. “The government is saying bring football back because it’s going to boost the nation’s morale, I don’t give a f*** about the nation’s morale.

“People’s lives are at risk, you know what I mean? Football shouldn’t even be spoken about coming back until the numbers have dropped massively. It’s b*******.

“I listened to the announcement, no football until June 1st or something, I don’t even pay attention to any of that.”

Troy Deeney | Watford

"I'm not even talking about football at the moment - I'm talking about my family's health,” Deeney said on Instagram, per BBC Sport.

"If I feel that I'm not looking after my family, then I'm not going to do it. I'm not going to put my family at risk.

"What are they going to do, take money off me? I've been broke before so it doesn't bother me.

"They're talking about not playing in front of fans until 2021. So if it's not safe enough for fans to be inside a stadium, why should it be safe for players to be in there?"

Crystal Palace v Watford FC - Premier League

Tammy Abraham | Chelsea

“Everyone can see what's going on in the world,” Abraham said, per the Daily Mail. “Everyone wants to come back to football. I love football. It was my first full season at Chelsea, I was having a great season and I would love it to continue.

“The most important thing for me is for everyone to be well and safe, and for things to start opening up. Then by all means football can always come back. If it's safe to do so let's do it, but if it's not then we will wait.

“My dad has asthma, so if I was to return to the Premier League and, God forbid, I do catch this disease and bring it home it's the worst thing possible.

“The last thing I need is to catch the virus myself or be in contact with anyone with the virus.”

Sergio Aguero | Manchester City

“The majority of players are scared because they have children and families," Aguero told El Chiringuito, per BBC Sport.

"I'm scared, but I'm with my girlfriend here and I'm not going to be in contact with other people. I'm locked in my house and the only person I could infect is my girlfriend.

"They're saying that there are people that have it and don't have any symptoms but still infect you. That's why I am here at home. Maybe I have the illness and I don't even know."

Raheem Sterling | Manchester City

“The moment we do go back it just needs to be a moment where it's not just for footballing reasons, it's safe for not just us footballers but the whole medical staff, referees,” Sterling said on his YouTube channel.

"I don't know how that's going to work, but I feel like once that side of the people's safety and the players’ safety is secured and their wellbeing is looked after then that's the right time to go back in.

"Until then, I'm... how can I say... not scared but reserved and thinking what the worst outcome could be.

“At the same time I'm looking forward to it and I really want to get back but hopefully it will all be well when we do get back.”

Manchester United v Manchester City - Carabao Cup: Semi Final

Aaron Cresswell | West Ham

“I think it’s been made pretty clear (that) players’ opinions don’t count for much along with the head medical officer of Fifa,” Cresswell said on Twitter.

“It’s been 10 weeks since we last played to try to get a poll to see where players stand.”

Matteo Guendouzi | Arsenal

“For me, what I think is most important is to not start things up again, no games, no training, until this epidemic stops,” Guendouzi told French outlet TF1, per the Mirror.

"What’s most important is everybody’s health, and not just in the football world, but in the medical world and the world in general. That’s really what’s most important.

“I’m in favour of nothing starting up again until this virus is taken off this world.”

Antonio Rudiger | Chelsea

"If we continue to play and there is a danger, and we ignore that while people are dying somewhere in the world, I don't know if that would sit right on my conscience," Rudiger told ZDF.

"If everything fits and it comes from those in charge that it's okay, there's no danger, then we can start. But if there is a danger that it will start again and more people will get infected [we can't start again]."

Glenn Murray | Brighton

"[The league] does need to go on, but if we give ourselves a little bit more time, the country will be back up and running again, we'll have learned more about this virus, we won't necessarily have a vaccine, but we'll be better prepared to deal with it if anyone does get it,” Murray told Sky Sports.

"I can't understand after loosening the lockdown why we're in such a rush to get it back when we could just wait a month and see if things go to plan. Why not see how the country copes with lessening the lockdown without starting unnecessary sports when people are dying all around us, and the death rate is still high.”

Brighton & Hove Albion v AFC Bournemouth  - Premier League

Manuel Lanzini | West Ham

"It's difficult. For me, it would be crazy to start playing again," Lanzini told Closs Continental Radio, per the Evening Standard.

"Until there is a vaccine that protects you, this is going to be a contagion constantly if the measures that have to be taken are not taken.

“I obviously want to play. I want to play, train, but I also have a family, I’m here with my girlfriend, my parents are over there, but you need to protect the children who are young [and old] parents.”

Grant Hanley | Norwich City

"I think the overall feeling is that players have got concerns," Hanley told Sky Sports, per BBC Sport. "There's just so much uncertainty.

"My missus is pregnant and she's due at the start of July, so there's obviously worries there for myself.

"Every team and player has got different views on it. Some lads have obviously got vulnerable family members or whatever.

"Ultimately it's putting your family at risk that is the main concern."

Mark Noble | West Ham

Sky Sports report that Noble “led calls for guarantees over player safety” during Wednesday’s meeting between Premier League captains and league chiefs over the return of football.

“Noble and Deeney raised questions about player safety and warned there were major hurdles still to overcome before games could return,” their report reads.

Southampton FC v West Ham United - Premier League
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