Coronavirus: Watford captain Deeney poised to return to training

Getty Images

Troy Deeney is expected to return to Watford training after holding positive talks with health officials.

The Hornets captain, though, detailed the significant abuse he had received after initially opting not to train when clubs were permitted to resume non-contact sessions.

Deeney, 31, had concerns over the health of his son – who has breathing difficulties – and statistics that showed BAME people were more at risk from COVID-19. 

He is now poised to join his team-mates when Watford train next week after the approval of contact training, having held discussions with Dr Jonathan Van-Tam, the Government's deputy chief medical officer, and the Premier League.

"I only said that I wasn't going back for the first week," Deeney told CNN. "People took that as I'll never go back.

"Jonathan is doing really well, not only answering questions, he has also been honest enough to say at times: 'I don't have the answer'.

"The first conversation I had with Jonathan was maybe three weeks ago. The last conversation we had was on Friday and he had so much more information, so much more detailed analysis.

"So it just filled me with confidence that he's trying his best to make sure that we have all the information. The risk factor will be down to players.

"He's been doing very, very good research and there is a lot of goodwill on his part to tell me, ultimately, that I'm going to be looked after as best as they can.

"Ultimately, there is going to be some form of risk for all of us going back to work. Lockdown [ending] and the social distancing measures coming down mean people will still always have risk."

Deeney said some of his meetings with the Premier League were "productive", while others were "heated". 

"I needed more questions answered with a bit more authority and, at the start, they couldn't really do that, but it was just because they didn't have the information," he said.

"I think everyone can appreciate everything that the Premier League is trying to do as well. I don't think it's a pure neglect of: 'We're going back to work and get on board or [else],' it's nothing like that. They have very good lines of communication.

"There's some frustrating conversations. When somebody said I'm at the same risk of getting coronavirus by playing football or going to the supermarket, I said: 'I've never had to jump for a header while picking up a cucumber'."

While the issue over his training dilemma appears to be solved, Deeney was unhappy with abuse he received, particularly that which targeted his son.

He added: "I saw some comments in regards to my son, people saying: 'I hope your son gets coronavirus'. 

"That's the hard part for me. If you respond to that, people then go: 'Ah, we've got him' and they keep doing it.

"In a time where it's all about mental health and everyone says: 'Speak up, speak out,' Danny Rose spoke out – and I spoke out and we just get absolutely hammered and battered for it.

"The missus gets direct messages and you'll be walking down the street and people will be like: 'Oh, I'm at work, you go back to work’."