Coronavirus: How Premier League clubs are slowly re-opening their facilities to help players

Marilyn Dubinski Chelsea FC

A handful of Premier League clubs have re-opened their training grounds this week to allow players to come and complete fitness work while observing the strict social distancing rules of the coronavirus lockdown. 

Arsenal, Tottenham, Brighton and West Ham are the first of the top-flight clubs to do so but with precautions in place with the UK still in lockdown. 

Other clubs will be hoping to follow suit when it’s safe to do so and here’s the latest from all 20 in the Premier League.   

ARSENAL

After 47 days away, Arsenal’s players returned to their London Colney base on Monday.

Five players at a time were allowed to train on the 10-pitch complex as social distancing rules were obeyed, while each player had to travel to and from the training ground alone.

David Luiz was among the first to arrive as Arsenal re-opened their training ground at Colney for players to complete fitness work on Monday

David Luiz was among the first to arrive as Arsenal re-opened their training ground at Colney for players to complete fitness work on Monday

David Luiz was among the first to arrive as Arsenal re-opened their training ground at Colney for players to complete fitness work on Monday 

Emiliano Martinez rolled up to Arsenal training in his convertible as the players returned

Emiliano Martinez rolled up to Arsenal training in his convertible as the players returned

Emiliano Martinez rolled up to Arsenal training in his convertible as the players returned 

No social interaction was permitted and all the buildings on the training ground remained closed, meaning players returned straight home to change.

Aerial footage showed Arsenal players with a pitch to themselves topping up their fitness levels by completing running work-outs. Each player has been assigned their own ball and was told exactly where to park upon arrival.

Manager Mikel Arteta, whose contraction of Covid-19 led to the suspension of the Premier League season last month, and coaching staff were not present on Monday.

Arsenal feel re-opening the training ground is safer for players than using parks local to their home because fans were approaching them for selfies.

Aerial pictures taken on Monday showed the players training in isolation one pitch apart

Aerial pictures taken on Monday showed the players training in isolation one pitch apart

Aerial pictures taken on Monday showed the players training in isolation one pitch apart

ASTON VILLA

Villa’s players have been away from their Bodymoor Heath training ground since March 12, with their 4-0 defeat at Leicester City three days prior to that the last Premier League game played.

A Villa spokesperson refused to comment.

BOURNEMOUTH

Bournemouth’s players aren’t back on the training ground at the moment but reports last week suggested that manager Eddie Howe had spoken to his team about returning early next month.

However, a Bournemouth spokesman confirmed there are currently no plans for a return to training or the training ground to open on a restricted basis.  

BRIGHTON AND HOVE ALBION

Brighton have re-opened their Lancing training complex this week – but on a very limited basis.

Players will be allowed access to the training pitches for non-compulsory individual sessions but they will need to book in advance so as to be allotted staggered arrival slots.

They need to stick to basic training such as running, stretching and core work, must arrive and leave in training kit and take their own drinks with them.

Brighton have re-opened their training ground this week but players need to book a slot

Brighton have re-opened their training ground this week but players need to book a slot

Brighton have re-opened their training ground this week but players need to book a slot

BURNLEY

Burnley’s players aren’t back on the training ground as yet but have stepped up their individual fitness programmes at home.

Manager Sean Dyche said the players had been wearing GPS devices when undergoing their tailored workout routines so club staff can monitor their progress.

Burnley’s players were given a 10 to 14 day break straight after the lockdown but are now ‘building back up’ in readiness for a resumption whenever that may be.

The Clarets confirmed there is no firm date for a return at present.

CHELSEA

Chelsea’s Cobham base has been closed to players since the virus outbreak in mid-March.

The club opened Stamford Bridge earlier this month so players who live locally could train on the pitch but the club insisted on solo sessions.

Dutchman Marco van Ginkel posted social media footage of himself running between cones on the pitch.

Chelsea have kept Stamford Bridge open for players to complete individual training sessions

Chelsea have kept Stamford Bridge open for players to complete individual training sessions

Chelsea have kept Stamford Bridge open for players to complete individual training sessions

CRYSTAL PALACE

Palace aren’t back on the training ground either for the moment but were reported to be one of the top-flight clubs keen on a May 9 return to training.

The club are confident their manager Roy Hodgson, 72, will be able to play a full role in training and be at matches when the Premier League resumes despite Government advice to protect those over the age of 70.

Hodgson said this week: ‘It will be a very joyous occasion at Beckenham when we get to train together as a group and prepare for the remaining matches.’

Palace manager Roy Hodgson says the squad's return to full training will be a 'joyous occasion'

Palace manager Roy Hodgson says the squad's return to full training will be a 'joyous occasion'

Palace manager Roy Hodgson says the squad’s return to full training will be a ‘joyous occasion’

EVERTON

Everton’s training ground at Finch Farm has been closed since March 13 with Carlo Ancelotti’s squad awaiting a return date.

The club had initially pencilled in a return date of April 17 but this proved impossible with the country still in lockdown.

LEICESTER CITY

Leicester’s players are currently training at home on individual programmes and have been doing so since their Belvoir Drive HQ closed in mid-March.

But, according to reports, City told their players that training will begin again in the first week of May depending on lockdown restrictions set by the Government.

LIVERPOOL

The Premier League leaders’ Melwood training ground remains closed and has been that way since Liverpool shut it down on March 13.

However, subject to the Government easing lockdown restrictions, Liverpool’s staff have reportedly been told tentatively they can return to training in mid-May to step up fitness work ahead of any Premier League resumption.

Speaking earlier this month, Pedro Chirivella revealed: ‘We have been told that until mid-May we will train separately. Then three or four weeks training with the group and if we can, we could play in June.’

Premier League champions-elect Liverpool are currently away from their Melwood base

Premier League champions-elect Liverpool are currently away from their Melwood base

Premier League champions-elect Liverpool are currently away from their Melwood base

MANCHESTER CITY

City’s Etihad training complex remains closed with players working to personalised training programmes at home.

This includes the likes of Fernandinho, who is in lockdown with family in his native Brazil.

He said this week: ‘We have been in touch with the club staff and they are sending us some plans, what kind of exercises we have to do.

‘Sometimes we have a video conference with them and a training session as well. That is the way we are trying to keep fit, but it isn’t the same of course.

Fernandinho admits he is missing life at Manchester City while under lockdown in Brazil

Fernandinho admits he is missing life at Manchester City while under lockdown in Brazil

Fernandinho admits he is missing life at Manchester City while under lockdown in Brazil

‘I miss arriving at the club in the morning, having a chat with everyone in the kitchen. This is a tough time for everybody, but I am feeling it right now because I am really missing everyone.’

Fernandinho could face a 14-day quarantine upon returning to the UK if Government plans are put into action, as could team-mates Gabriel Jesus, Ederson, Rodri, Bernardo Silva and David Silva.

Manager Pep Guardiola is in Catalonia following the death of his mother, Dolors, from coronavirus earlier this month.

Manchester City confirmed discussions are ongoing about when facilities could re-open.

MANCHESTER UNITED

United’s Carrington training ground remains closed for group training sessions but reports have suggested striker Marcus Rashford visited on Monday to finish treatment on his back injury.

The Sun reported that Rashford visited Carrington to speak to club doctors and spent time in the gym as he regains fitness following three months out.

It is believed Rashford has been in a few times in the past five weeks with the suspension of action working in his favour as he works towards a return.

Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford has been continuing his recovery from a back injury and reportedly visited Carrington for treatment this week

Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford has been continuing his recovery from a back injury and reportedly visited Carrington for treatment this week

Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford has been continuing his recovery from a back injury and reportedly visited Carrington for treatment this week 

United coach Kieran McKenna said the club are hopeful training can resume in some form if the Government relaxes lockdown restrictions after May 7.

‘At the moment, we are working towards, touch wood, the lockdown loosening after the next deadline and being able to return to some sort of training,’ McKenna said.

‘We are working towards that schedule at the moment but, if we have to push back again, we have got a plan B and plan C already prepared.’

NEWCASTLE UNITED

Newcastle’s takeover has dominated the headlines during the lockdown as the players remain away from the training ground.

As with quite a few other clubs, return dates have been put back with manager Steve Bruce saying the players won’t be back in training ‘until it’s safe to do so.’

NORWICH CITY

Norwich haven’t made public any plans for players to return to full training though their training centre has been open for players to book slots and train individually while observing social distancing rules.

Catering and changing facilities are closed, however, and players have been asked to eat and get changed at home. 

Sporting director Stuart Webber has said the club won’t contemplate a restart until it’s totally safe.

Webber said: ‘No player should be asked to return, or staff members, until people are very comfortable that the environment that you are asking them to return to is safe, because that is the most important thing.’

SHEFFIELD UNITED

The Blades were the last top-flight side to cancel first team training back on March 23 and their players have been training at home since then.

John Egan said this week: ‘If the lockdown gets extended for another few weeks, we obviously won’t be allowed in, through Government rules.

‘We’re down to be back in the next two to three weeks. If things start getting better and the government is happy to ease the lockdown rules, then hopefully we’ll be back in the next two to three weeks.’

Sheffield United were flying high in the table before the coronavirus crisis struck

Sheffield United were flying high in the table before the coronavirus crisis struck

Sheffield United were flying high in the table before the coronavirus crisis struck 

SOUTHAMPTON

Southampton’s players remain away from the training ground for the time being and following fitness schedules set by the club’s coaches.

‘Safety is the biggest priority and we’ll only return to playing and training when it’s safe to do so,’ Saints midfield Stuart Armstrong told The Daily Mirror.

‘Everyone is missing it, but ultimately safety is the biggest priority and that’s what we’ve got to wait for.’

TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR

Tottenham players will have access to their training ground in Enfield from Tuesday for ‘individual running sessions on a strict rotational basis.’

Spurs said that no more than one player per pitch will be permitted at any one time with restrictions on the number of players coming to the training ground on any given day.

Players will arrive already dressed in training gear and return home immediately after the session and all buildings will be closed.

Harry Kane was among the first Tottenham players to arrive back at training on Tuesday

Harry Kane was among the first Tottenham players to arrive back at training on Tuesday

Harry Kane was among the first Tottenham players to arrive back at training on Tuesday

One player who won’t be present is Son Heung-min, who is completing three weeks of military service in his native South Korea and could face a 14-day quarantine when he returns.

The coronavirus shutdown hasn’t been without incident for Tottenham’s players. Serge Aurier and Moussa Sissoko issued an apology and made a donation to the NHS after doing shuttle runs together in breach of social distancing. Aurier posted a video of their training session online.

Ryan Sessegnon and Davinson Sanchez were also filmed running side-by-side, while manager Jose Mourinho organised a one-on-one training session with Tanguy Ndombele in Barnet.

WATFORD

Watford have no plans to resume training at their London Colney base despite neighbours Arsenal making their return.

One or two of Watford’s injured players have had limited access to their training ground for rehabilitation purposes in recent weeks but the majority of the squad will continue following fitness programmes at home.

WEST HAM UNITED

West Ham re-opened their Rush Green training ground to players this week but under tight restrictions.

Only one player is allowed access to the site at any one time and there’s no access to the main building. The training ground was given a second deep clean late last week.

West Ham's training ground is open again but players can only go there one at a time

West Ham's training ground is open again but players can only go there one at a time

West Ham’s training ground is open again but players can only go there one at a time

Players are permitted to come and jog around the pitches at Rush Green if they don’t have access to open spaces at home. They must bring their own training equipment – provided by the club – with them.

They must also arrive and leave the training ground alone and there’s a one hour buffer between players being on site.

WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS

The Wolves training ground has actually been accessible to their players for individual, running-based sessions throughout the pandemic. 

But a club spokesman confirmed there are no plans at present to do any additional training work or to involve coaches. 

Key players Rui Patricio and Joao Mourinho returned home to Portugal once the Premier League was suspended and could face two weeks of quarantine when they return.

 

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