Watford forward Andre Gray has posted an emotional apology on social media after breaking lockdown rules along with teammates Nathaniel Chalobah and Domingos Quina.
Gray posted footage on his Instagram of the three playing football with a group of people at a party at his property, which he shares with his fiancee, Little Mix singer Leigh Anne-Pinnock.
There appeared to be far more than the maximum group of six the Government advise meeting at one time, and Gray soon deleted the videos.
He was dropped for the weekend’s game against Southampton along with Chalobah and Quina ‘to ensure the health and safety of all players, staff and officials.’
And he took to social media on Monday to post: “I wanted to wait to make public apology as my first apology needed to be to my team mates and staff first for not being able to be involved in yesterdays game and the risk i may have caused!
“I just want to reiterate that it was not a late night party like what is being portrayed and only a gathering of friends which turned into a sort of football tournament on my birthday!
“I understand my responsibilities and will do what it takes to make it right, apologies again! Andre gray”
Gray, Chalobah and Quina could return to action for Watford’s game against Chelsea on Saturday, but they are all expected to receive a heavy fine from the club.
When asked about their situation following the defeat to the Saints, a clearly unhappy manager Nigel Pearson said: “Until I know all the facts I’m not going to make any further comment on the situation.”
Watford will need all the help they can get if they are to avoid relegation, and they currently sit in 16th place but just a point off the drop having played one game more than West Ham and Bournemouth.
Pearson added: “We are fighting for our lives because we haven’t found the performance levels we need.”