| Last updated
Troy Deeney has responded to criticism about his decision to not return to training for Watford, explaining that fears over how the virus affects people of a BAME background and his son's health are the driving factors.
Premier League players are set to return to training this week as part of 'Project Restart', in groups of five that have to continue with social distancing, but Deeney has revealed he won't be joining his Watford teammates.
Former Manchester City midfielder Joey Barton suggested players like the Hornets' striker who didn't want a return were only doing so to avoid relegation and make money, something the player has denied, explaining his actual reasons.
"We're due back in this week. I've said I'm not going in," he told Eddie Hearn and Tony Bellew's Talk the Talk podcast.
"We're all in this week - every Premier League club, at some point, they're back in. I've said personally I'm not going back in. It's nothing personally to do with, I know Joey mentioned it, It's nothing to do with financial gain. Hand on heart, if I were to go into full detail about my personal situation, everyone here would go 'no problem, I fully understand what you're saying'.
"Within the meeting, I've asked very simple questions - for black, Asian and mixed ethnicity, you're four times more likely to get the illness and are twice as likely to have long lasting illnesses, is there any additional screening, heart stuff to see if anyone has got problems from that? No. Okay, well I feel like that should be addressed."
Speaking about the issues surrounding his family the 31-year-old added, "While we are getting tested and while we are going to be in a very safe environment, it only takes one person to get infected within a group for that to be a one to six ratio and again, I don't want to be bringing that home.
"I've just had a son, my son is five months old, he had breathing difficulties, so I don't want to come home to put him in more danger.
"You've got to drive in in your own kit, you can't have showers, so there's a hygiene aspect with that. Then you've got to drive home in the same dirty kit and if you have been contaminated, I don't know if it can be passed through clothes, they couldn't really answer that question, but if I'm putting that clothing in with my son's clothing or my missus' clothing, it's more likely to be in and around the house and I just said the simplest thing.
"I can't get a haircut until mid-July, but I can go and get in a box with 19 people and jump for a header. I don't know how that works and no one could answer the questions - not because they didn't want to, it's just because they don't know the information, so I said, 'if you don't know the information, why would I put myself at risk?'"
Testing on players has already begun and the government gave the possibility of football returning just last week when they confirmed no professional sport would be allowed until June 1st.
The league had been working on a return on June 12th but that could yet be pushed back with lots of work still to be done.
Deeney is far from the only player to have reservations about the restart but it's unlikely to change things unless a lot more players speak out.
Chosen for YouChosen for You
Most Read StoriesMost Read