Steve Bruce urges Premier League rethink over restart date from coronavirus shutdown

Steve Bruce is hopeful clubs will get the green light to increase the number of players allowed to train

The Premier League should consider delaying its planned restart so players have more time to get match fit, says Newcastle United manager Steve Bruce.

Clubs will meet on Monday to discuss rules around training during the coronavirus pandemic.

The league is aiming to resume on 12 June but Bruce wants to restart later.

“We need enough preparation time to get these players into shape or they are just going to fall down like a pack of cards,” he told the Sunday Telegraph.

“Most of the managers have the same concerns. We would need at least six weeks. I don’t see how we can play games until the back end of June.

“You have to remember that they have had eight weeks off and that is probably the longest break some of these players have had in their careers.”

Monday’s Premier League meeting will see clubs vote on whether to allow players to return to training in small groups with social distancing measures in place.

It follows a weekend where the German Bundesliga became the first major European league to resume fixtures behind closed doors.

On Thursday, the UK government said it was “opening the door” for the return of professional football in England in June.

But players including Danny Rose – who is on loan with Newcastle from Tottenham – have aired concerns over rushing football’s return during a pandemic in which more than 34,000 people have died in the UK.

Rose warned people’s “lives were at risk”, while former Manchester United player Darren Fletcher has said he would have been hesitant to return to action as a result of an underlying health condition.

“Danny Rose expressed his concerns, but I’ve spoken to him and he is coming back as well,” said Bruce.

“Everybody has their own set of circumstances and you have to take that into account. But, certainly, the measures being put in place, you’re probably more at risk going to the supermarket or putting petrol in your car. We are in a fortunate position, we can get tested every three days.

“If a player refuses to come in or play, I have sympathy for that and would understand it. Most of my players are happy with it. You have to respect everybody’s personal views on it.”

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