Captain Troy Deeney of Watford claims he has been harassed in public and online for raising reservations about the attempts by the Premier League to revive the season during the coronavirus pandemic.
Deeney told CNN Sport that his five-month-old boy, born prematurely and having breathing problems, was wished ill by people online, while people on the street asked him to go back to work.
“I’ve had a few tweets about my family, people saying: ‘I hope your family will get a corona[virus],'” Deeney told CNN Sport. “For me, that’s the hard part. If you’re reacting to that, then people go: ‘Oh, we’ve got him,’ and they keep on doing it.”
On Wednesday, clubs voted unanimously to resume contact training, stage two of the league’s ‘Return to Training Protocol,’ though the Premier League later announced that four players and staff from three clubs were testing Covid-19 positively.
Deeney was one of the high-profile players to challenge a potential resumption publicly, and he claims he has provided support for his views privately. He claims, however, that the criticism he and other outspoken players have faced means that other footballers may be reluctant to express their issues.
The Reds had a 25-point over Manchester City and were just two wins away from a title in the Premier League before the competition was shut down in March due to Covid-19 break.
The Premier League is also in talks about a potential return, with clubs agreeing overwhelmingly on Wednesday to restore the touch training.
But in odd circumstances, and completion of the season will take place, with it still possible that the campaign could be abandoned completely. Deeney said that any outcome on Liverpool is unreasonable, which deserves its first English title in 30 years.
While Premier League clubs have returned to small group training, due to concerns about his five-month-old son, who has breathing problems, Deeney has not been present.