With the 2019/20 Premier League season on hold amid the coronavirus pandemic, top-flight stars have plenty of time on their hands.
The league is set to be suspended for several weeks and here’s how clubs are keeping busy.
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Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta was the first Premier League manager to test positive for coronavirus.
The Gunners have been in self-isolation since and were scheduled to return to training following a 14-day period.
But the club said: “Our men’s first team players were scheduled to return to training on Tuesday after completing 14 days isolation following Mikel Arteta’s positive diagnosis for the virus.
“As a result of the current situation we are clear it would be inappropriate and irresponsible to ask players to come back at this time. Therefore our men’s first team, women and academy players are all remaining at home. Stay at home and save lives.”
Meanwhile, the club have been supporting their north London community offering help to the vulnerable around Islington.
Arsenal mascot Gunnersaurus has been keeping himself busy with ironing, gardening and Bargain Hunt during his self-isolation.
After Villa’s home game with Chelsea was called off, the club donated 1,000 packed lunches intended for the matchday to charity.
The Villa Women’s team took on their Bayer Leverkusen counterparts in a social media game of connect four.
Brighton are phoning their elderly supporters to keep them company during self-isolation, saying ‘kindness costs nothing’.
Seagulls CEO Paul Barber told talkSPORT: “In some cases it’s just about having a chat with them.
“If they’re isolated at home and not getting out, it can get pretty lonely, so our staff are starting to do that from today. Hopefully that will lift a few spirits and keep the community feeling okay during this difficult time.
“We’ve seen community spirit increasing, people are being kind to each other, looking out for each other and doing what they can.
“And I think people are respecting the fact that the football industry are making sure they get their priorities right at the moment.”
Cherries star Nathan Ake provided some advice of how to stay busy during the football lockdown.
The defender took to social media to go through his daily routine and how fans can do the same.
Give COVID-19 the red card
The quicker we work together to stop coronavirus spreading, the sooner we can get back into the pubs, the gyms and stadiums and arenas to see live sport again…
STAY AT HOME. Only leave for the following purposes:
- to shop for basic essentials – only when you really need to
- to do one form of exercise a day – such as a run, walk or cycle, alone or with other people you live with
- for any medical need – for example, to visit a pharmacy or deliver essential supplies to a vulnerable person
- to travel to and from work – but only where this is absolutely necessary
For more info and tips, visit the NHS website.
The government has also issued further detail on what we can do during lockdown.
Everyone should do what they can to stop coronavirus spreading.
The Clarets are supporting a foodbank in Burnley with the players making a collective cash donation, and the club matching the donation.
The club have confirmed that their squad will remain on individual fitness programmes until at least April 6, adding: “Please stay safe with your loved ones.”
They have also been doing a ‘Back to the Fixture’, posting updates from classic matches on Twitter.
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich also showed his generosity by covering costs for NHS staff working in the region to stay at the Millennium Hotel at Stamford Bridge.
A club statement read: “Chelsea Football Club is joining the medical response to the coronavirus outbreak in London with the news the National Health Service (NHS) has accepted the Club’s offer to make the Millennium Hotel at Stamford Bridge available for NHS staff.”
England forward Callum Hudson-Odoi was the first Premier League player to test positive for the virus and said recently: “I’m feeling good and hope to see you all soon.”
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I don't know about you, but lately I've been feeling like Tom Hanks in the Cast Away movie @tomhanks, wish you and your wife a great recovery! I'm with you Let's take this to another level! I challenge @theowalcott, @bernardocarvalhosilva, @cafu26, @ukra17 and @433 to create your own version of a movie scene! It's time for the #BALLywoodChallenge! #1weekwithoutfootball #goingcrazy #StayatHome #StaySafe
Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha has offered his support to NHS staff.
The London-born winger has offered to open up 50 properties in the capital to healthcare workers who are battling the virus – free of charge.
Zaha is the co-owner of ZO Properties, which has a portfolio of rental accommodation usually offered to business travellers, with properties in Notting Hill, Shoreditch and Aldgate.
Everton star Andre Gomes kept fans entertained with a recreation of the Tom Hanks film ‘Cast Away’ while in isolation.
The Toffees have launched a campaign called ‘Blue Family’ which will offer mental health support and advice to those in need.
Staff and players like Duncan Ferguson and Moise Kean made personal phone calls to fans to wish them a happy Mother’s Day.
Several Leicester stars have showed their skills in the #StayAtHomeChallenge.
The Foxes are working closely with local schools for vulnerable young people and children of key workers.
Goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel also made a personal £20,000 donation to Age UK to help out amid the crisis.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp penned a letter to Reds fans saying: “Please look after yourselves and look out for each other. You’ll Never Walk Alone,.”
Meanwhile, Sadio Mane has made a donation to help the fight against coronavirus in his home country of Senegal.
Liverpool also teamed up with city rivals Everton to set up ‘Fans Supporting Foodbanks’ to help get supplies to poverty-stricken areas in Merseyside.
Liverpool’s stewards have also stepped in to provide aid by volunteering to help with crowd control and assisting the elderly during their trips to supermarkets.
Social media videos from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and James Milner helped keep bored fans entertained as well.
City were one of the first English teams to have games postponed due to coronavirus.
They have since combined with Manchester United to donate a combined £100,000 to help local food banks.
The club have posted a series of ‘Screen shit colour-ins’ on social media so young fans can show off their art skills.
As well as their work with City, United will continue to pay casual matchday staff if the remainder of the season is cancelled or played behind closed doors.
Old Trafford is due to host four more Premier League games if the campaign resumes, with more than 3,000 matchday staff due around £1m in wages.
United legend Gary Neville has also made an incredible gesture to NHS staff by allowing them to stay at his two Manchester hotels free of charge.
Newcastle have donated 1,200 pies meant for their match against Sheffield United to a foodbank.
The Toon are part of Leyton Orient’s ‘Ultimate QuaranTeam’ FIFA tournament which is looking to raise funds amid the pandemic.
Newcastle beat Gillingham 3-0 in their first round tie.
The club have put a postcard on social media that can be printed out and posted through letterboxes to support the elderly and vulnerable.
TV presenter and Canaries fans Jake Humphrey has tried to keep up spirits with a string of messages.
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Together, we can come out of this difficult time stronger than ever. Stay safe everyone
Southampton have played Spot the Difference, held quizzes and shown classic games on their social media feeds.
The Saints Foundation have also shared tips for simple exercises on their website.
Tottenham defender Toby Alderweireld has donated electronic tablets to hospitals and nursing homes, saying: “I hope everyone is following the government measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
“The virus creates many needs, especially the lack of personal contact. The people who are sick can’t see their friends and family.
“My plan is to buy dozens of tablets to give to the hospitals and nursing homes so people can video chat with their loved ones and friends to get through this tough period.
“I’m trying to get those tablets to the places where they can help.”
The club has also donated surplus food and drink, set up a virtual yoga session and video fitness tutorials and released a Spurs-themed educational pack for children.
Manager Jose Mourinho headed out in Enfield to deliver essential goods to the elderly for Age UK.
Watford are showing their sense of community with a ‘Hornets At Home’ initiative aimed at helping those who need it most.
Watford goalkeeper Ben Foster joined talkSPORT to reveal how he is keeping business, saying: “I’m watching a lot of Netflix, watching TV, reading random and weird stuff, anything to pass the time.
“I’m one for the classics. I’ve re-watched The Office this week for the 100th time, Entourage, I watched Castaway last night with the wife, I’ve watched a few Star Wars things – there’s plenty to keep up with!
“You’ve got to watch what you eat as well. When you’re bored and not feeling so great it’s so easy to just start picking at food and not really watching your diet, but you’ve got to be careful.
“We’re off until Friday now, so in the meantime it’s a case of doing as much gym work and strengthening as you can and I’m out on the bike as much as I can.
“You’ve just got to get your head down and get on with it.”
West Ham are helping out at their local homeless shelters as well as making personal phone-calls to elderly fans.
Hammers star Michail Antonio took on Tottenham’s Ryan Sessgnon in a game of FIFA in place of the London derby that would have taken place on Friday under normal circumstances.
The Spurs man won 2-0 much to the disappointment of Antonio who said: “ABSOLUTELY GUTTED!
“Was embarrassing out there today and I’m way better than that. The passing was off, shooting was bad and couldn’t tackle. I think it’s clear what’s happened………… my controller must have been broken. I’LL BE BACK. #FifaLondonDerby.”
The club have also set up an initiative to help out the vulnerable called ‘Wolves at Home’.
They have also entertained fans with a string of ‘On The Spot’ interviews profiling their star players.