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Gary Neville slams 'nonsense' Premier League training protocol ahead of restart


Gary Neville has branded suggestions player contact should be monitored in training as “nonsense” following the release of the Premier League’s latest guidelines.

The UK government has authorised clubs and athletes to engage in contact-related training under phase two of their plan to aid the resumption of sport.

Off the back of the government’s announcement, the Premier League are now rolling out their own set of guidelines, which includes the recommendation that each club appoints a designated Covid-19 coaching contact.

As reported by The Sun, said contact would be tasked with undertaking risk assessments of training sessions to protect player safety.

One of the main areas to monitor is the contact between players, but Neville feels it is impossible to keep track of.

Gary Neville feels the Premier League's training protocol is "nonsense"
Gary Neville feels the Premier League’s training protocol is “nonsense”

“We saw Jadon Sancho over the weekend go and celebrate with his teammates. A lot of football is around instinct,” Neville told Sky Sports.

“I would say it’s player by player. The way Jamie Redknapp used to play, he would always be looking for space, he didn’t want player contact because he was trying to move into space to receive the ball.

“Whereas I was constantly mauling my opponent, even off the ball. I wanted to know where he was all the time and my hands would be all over him.

“I would be touching him, elbowing him. I wanted that contact.”

“It depends on player by player, position by position. So the idea that you can have Covid coaches is a bit of a nonsense.”

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Among the other stipulations laid out by the Premier League are requests for clubs to limit the number of throw-ins being taken in training, as well as one coach being in charge of equipment such as balls, bibs and cones.

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Coronavirus in sport

Neville pointed to the Bundesliga restart in Germany where players have been marking each other closely at set pieces, as well as constantly handling their opponents as they vie for space.

He added: “My concern with the restart is more around the conflicting messages between industries – if it’s safe to play football then I would say it’s safe to do pretty much most things.”

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