THE Premier League’s big return to training has been hampered — by sticky balls!
And some players have angrily slammed the Phase One Covid-19 training programmes as “pointless” and “ludicrous”.
All 20 top flight clubs have now resumed work in strictly controlled sessions as part of Project Restart, which aims to finish the season.
But the disinfectant that is being sprayed onto balls has reacted in the hot weather, causing the surface to become tacky and affecting movement.
Some players also claim sessions are not fit for purpose as they build up fitness ahead of a planned match return next month.
Players were largely enthusiastic about getting back to some kind of work this week after more than two months without football.
But motivation is already rapidly vanishing because the carefully regulated training sessions are nothing like what they should be doing as professionals.
With the Government struggling to come up with protocols to move to Phase Two of training by the end of the week, it appears the limited training will be in place for the remainder of May.
Sessions are limited to groups of five, all with social distancing in place, and mostly running drills.
There are some ball work exercises involving dribbling around cones and shooting into an empty net, with the players having to get the balls themselves to comply with the rules.
Coaches are understood to have similar feelings, believing the sessions are little more than a PR exercise for the Government and the Premier League.
Crucially, some are finding that their general fitness levels are miles away from what they should be to compete at full pace in games.
Stars have had a longer lay-off than their usual summer break.
So it is likely to be harder to get them up to speed before matches resume, with the league still stubbornly targeting a June 12 restart, no matter how unlikely that seems.
Source: The Sun