Everton captain Seamus Coleman has spoken about the precautions taken by the club after the players returned to training following the coronavirus outbreak, but says he feels "very safe" in spite of the unusual circumstances.
Premier League clubs have returned to training - albeit with social distancing measures in place - ahead of potentially resuming the 2019-20 season next month.
A total of 748 people at Premier League clubs - including players and staff - were tested for the virus on Sunday and Monday, with six positive results confirmed, including Watford defender Adrian Mariappa and Burnley assistant manager Ian Woan.
This has led some players to voice concerns over returning to training but Republic of Ireland international Coleman says his worries had been eased by the extent of the precautions taken by Everton.
“Even getting the kit ready on Tuesday night, you are excited to get back to work,” Coleman told evertontv . “It’s probably the longest I’ve been away from Finch Farm. Driving through the gates was a great feeling but it’s definitely a little bit different.
“The club has taken all the precautions needed. We were in in small groups and it felt very safe. They told us that would be the case but when you got there, you could see the work that has been put in to make it as safe as possible.
“It is serious, we have to do things properly. We are in there together and it is important we are living our lives right outside the place to make sure you do not endanger anyone.
“The ideal scenario is we get back playing Premier League football and to do that, as players, we need to make sure we are doing everything right. The club made sure of that by telling us the rules and regulations.
“We couldn’t wait to get on the training pitch and it was nice to see some of the lads again and get back out there training. It is up to us as players now to stick to the rules at the club and do what is asked of us.
“There are measurements to tell us how far to stay apart and a one-way system around the building, so you are not crossing paths with people. It feels as safe as it possibly can and, hopefully, we can move to phase two as quickly and safely as possible.”
Coleman said he had spoken to the entire first-team squad in his role as captain, and that there was a consensus among the players of wanting to get back to training.
However, the right-back sympathised with the likes of Watford captain Troy Deeney, who said he will not return to training yet due to concerns of the possible health impact on his young family, and that for as good as it felt to be back on the training pitch, there are other priorities to consider.
“I was with Bainesy (Leighton Baines), Yerry [Mina] and Michael [Keane] and one of the other groups also had four defenders,” explained Coleman.
“It wasn’t a very, very hard session, more easing us back in to make sure there were no injuries. There were passing drills and strides and dribbling circuits and we finished with playing out from the back.
“We had the manager, Davide [Ancelotti] and Duncan [Ferguson] for the football element. You can still get the work in, it was a very good session and we were in and out as quickly as possible. It was enjoyable and I was happy to get a ball at my feet again.
“We all have to go back to work and we are happy to do that, but I am sure there are people with nerves as well.
“It’s such a strange time in the world, I don’t think anyone could have predicted something like this. Your first concern is your family.”