Sergio Aguero says players fear the risks of returning to football during the coronavirus crisis, as the Premier League continues to work on ‘Project Restart’.
On Friday, clubs will meet to discuss how the season can be resumed, with June 8 currently targeted as the date when matches could get back underway.
While clubs and the UK government are keen for action to resume, plenty have misgivings about the prospect.
Gary Neville raised the question ‘How many people have to die playing football in the Premier League before it becomes unpalatable?’, while Brighton forward Glenn Murray has questioned how players can realistically keep themselves safe while playing matches. Now Aguero has joined Murray in expressing his concerns.
“The majority of players are scared because they have family; they have children, they have babies, parents,” Aguero told the Daily Mail. “When we go back, I imagine that we will be very tense, we will be very careful, and the moment someone feels ill, you will think: ‘What's gone on there?’
“I hope there is a vaccine so all this ends. It does scare me, but I have just been here with my girlfriend. I haven't had contact with other people.”
Aguero has stayed in Manchester during lockdown but plenty of Premier League players have returned to their home countries. Chelsea are one of the clubs to have told these players to return to the UK to prepare for the event of the season resuming.
“They say that there are people who have it but who don't have symptoms and they can infect you,” Aguero added. “That's why I've stayed at home. You can be infected, and you don't know anything about it.
“Fifteen days ago, we were told about a return date [to training] and that was May 4. Now there is a new meeting. It will be difficult to play the Champions League in August.”
Some of Aguero’s Manchester City team-mates have already spoken about their own concerns during lockdown. Kevin De Bruyne said in early April that he felt starting the season again after such a long break would lead to a much larger number of players picking up injuries.
Players have been given individual training routines to maintain some level of fitness, but Ilkay Gundogan has admitted to struggling for motivation while stuck at home.