Troy Deeney backed by Ally McCoist as Watford captain reveals he is refusing to return to training this week over coronavirus fears

Watford captain Troy Deeney has been backed by Ally McCoist after revealing he is refusing to return to training this week over fears he could contract coronavirus or pass it to his family.

The Premier League announced in a statement on Monday that, after a unanimous vote from shareholders, top flight clubs will be allowed to invite their players back to ‘small group training’ from Tuesday onwards.

It’s the next step in the league’s ‘Project Restart’, whose next obstacle is to decide when it is safe for players to resume full contact training before ramping up their plans for the 2019/20 season to get going again in June.

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The Premier League want to resume the Premier League season next month behind closed doors
Getty Images

However, for the moment, it appears Watford will be without their top scorer, Deeney, who insists he is staying at home.

The 31-year-old striker outlined his personal reasons for refusing to resume training on Matchroom Sport’s Talk the Talk podcast, including concerns for his young son and unanswered issues around BAME players.

And he says, despite the Premier League’s new dossier of health and safety measures, he has failed to receive the reassurances he had been seeking.

Speaking to top boxing promoter Eddie Hearn and former fighter Tony Bellew, the Watford star said: “We’re due back in this week, and I’ve said I’m not going.

“Within the meeting I asked very simple questions; for Black, Asian and mixed ethnicities they are four times more likely to get the illness and twice as likely to have long lasting illness – Is there any additional screening? Heart stuff to see if anyone has a problem?

“I feel that should be addressed. 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.

“No one could answer the questions – not because they didn’t want to, but because they didn’t have the information.

“I just said. ‘If you don’t know the information, why would I put myself at risk?’.”

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Captain Troy Deeney is Watford’s leading goal scorer this season, but they may have to complete the season without him
Getty Images – Getty

It’s not just himself Deeney is concerned about, as he spoke about his fears of potentially passing the virus to a member of his young family.

“It only takes one person to get infected,” he added.

“I don’t want to bring that home – my son is five months old and he’s had breathing difficulties.

“I don’t want to come home and put him in more danger. You’ve got to drive back in the same dirty kit – if I’m putting my clothing in with my son’s clothing or my missus’ clothing it’s more likely to be in and around the house.

“I’ve lost my Dad, my Gran, my Grandad… I’ve lost more or less everyone that I care about. So that, to me, is more important than a few quid in my back pocket.”

Speaking on talkSPORT on Monday, Crystal Palace winger Andros Townsend assured his peers that footballers will be returning to one of the safest workplaces in the whole country, due to the Premier League’s new and extreme health and safety measures for players and club staff.

However, Rangers legend Ally McCoist said on Tuesday’s talkSPORT Breakfast that Deeney has every right to put his family first and refuse to return.

And he believes there will be plenty more Premier League players in the same camp as the frontman.

“I totally and utterly sympathise with Troy Deeney, 100 per cent,” said the former Scotland striker.

“There’s no argument against Troy Deeney here, if he’s putting the welfare of his family first and putting no risk at all on them, particularly his young son, I don’t think there’s an argument against him.

“There’s maybe a discussion to be had then about does he deserve to earn his money on full pay, that will develop into another argument.

“But in terms of is Troy Deeney doing the correct thing for his family, if he has any concerns at all, then absolutely, he has to look after his family.

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Deeney is incredibly skeptical about the Premier League’s Project Restart
Getty Images – Getty

“Listen, there’ll be an awful lot of players unlike Troy Deeney who maybe just have themselves [to worry about] or they don’t have any kids and don’t feel as through they would be a threat to anybody else, and they will WANT to go back to training and back playing, and I get that also.

“But, I don’t think there is any doubt, there will be a lot more out there like Troy Deeney that we just haven’t heard from.”

Listen to a clip of Ally McCoist on the talkSPORT Breakfast above


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