Watford captain Troy Deeney has hit out at plans for the return of Premier League football in the coming weeks.
Government officials are hopeful that the league might be able to resume in the middle of June, although admissions have been made that not everything is in place to allow that to happen at the current time.
Meanwhile, clubs are expected to pass a motion on Monday to allow Premier League sides to step up training sessions with a view to a return to action as soon as possible.
Deeney, though, has claimed that players have yet to be given adequate assurances about their safety at this time and that he has been contacted by fellow Premier League stars worried about voicing their opinions.
“I think the concern is very much that Phases Two [when players start contact training] and Three have not been clearly laid out,” he told ‘Good Morning Britain’ on ITV. “There has been a lot of what I would class as simple questions that have not been answered.
“For example, you can talk about the BAME situation. Government guidelines are saying it is four times more likely for people of colour to get the illness and twice as likely to have lasting illnesses, but there is no extra screening and no additional checks being done on any players because it costs too much money.
“Simple things like that are where people are asking questions and it’s not being answered. When people can’t answer the questions, you start to panic and start to worry.
“I saw Tammy Abraham say his dad has asthma and he lives with him so he has concerns. It’s not just players at the bottom who are trying to stay in the league. There are concerns right across the board. I have had a lot of texts from players who are worried about coming out and speaking.”
Deeney also highlighted a moral argument about resuming action too soon.
“We see a lot about care workers and key workers not getting tested and people dying in nursing homes and things of that nature, yet we are expected to have just short of 3,500 tests per month as football players, and PPE for all the staff,” he said.
“How long will it be until that’s the players’ fault? ‘Look at these prima donna footballers that are getting all this preferential treatment when there’s people dying on the street’.
“That was posed by one of my colleagues. As of five, six weeks ago the NHS was in dire straits and it was put on footballers to make donations, which was already going to happen. But when politicians are calling us out, there is an underlying message that no matter what we do we are painted to be the bad guys.”
Watford currently lie 17th in the Premier League table, ahead of Bournemouth by virtue of a marginally better goal difference and two points clear of Aston Villa, who have a game in hand.