Aston Villa, Wolves brace for close Premier League talks amid fears for player wellbeing


Aston Villa boss Steven Gerrard, Wolves counterpart Bruno Lage and other Premier League managers will meet on Thursday to resolve a host of coronavirus issues, according to the Press Association.

The increase in Covid-19 cases across the league has seen nine of England’s last 20 top games postponed, with the remaining games only taking place with exhausted teams.

Premier League clubs chose to continue their busy Christmas schedule on Monday, while the Carabao Cup quarter-finals came to an end on Wednesday.

Sky Sports have also revealed that the Premier League will hold two meetings this afternoon to discuss player welfare and match congestion.

Reruns have already been removed for FA Cup third and fourth rounds to help ease game congestion, but Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp would prefer the League Cup semi-final to be one leg away instead of two.

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Villa Gerrard’s counterpart has revealed the extent of Covid-19 anxiety among his players, ahead of Boxing Day clash with Chelsea.

“We had a situation this weekend where one of the players was reluctant to get out of his car because he was showing symptoms and had a young family, and you can fully understand his perspective on his situation. “said Gerrard.

“He’s a guy with a young family, it’s Christmas time, and that’s the situation everyone is in.

“No one wants to catch this virus. Everyone wants to protect their own family. This is our job and your priority will always be your family, of course.

“Fortunately he was tested afterwards and he didn’t have a situation, but this player would not have been available for me that day, and these are the little situations that people don’t see.”

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Liverpool captain Henderson has insisted that football authorities are not paying enough attention to the welfare of the players.

“Football is everything to us and we want to be able to play at the highest level every time we step onto the pitch. And unfortunately during that time it’s hard to do that, ”Henderson told BBC Sport.

“It’s been like this for a few years now and it’s been tough but then on top of that you throw Covid and it gets even harder and even worse.

“I’m afraid nobody really takes the welfare of the players seriously.

“I think decisions are made – of course we want to play as footballers, we want to go out and play – but I’m worried about the well-being of the players and I think nobody takes this seriously enough, especially in this period when Covid is there.

“We’re going to try to have conversations in the background and have some sort of influence going forward, but at the moment I don’t think the players are getting the respect they deserve in terms of to have somebody able to speak for them independently and to have the power to say “in fact, that is not good for the well-being of the players”.


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