I WAS asked recently about what the difference is between training if it’s non-physical.

The answer is, of course, that if you are treating the present time as a sort of pre-season period with no games coming up, the first part of the session would be more about running and body training, then you’d finish off the session with the ball and that is the biggest difference.

But during the season the ball is ever-present, whereas at present times it’s all about getting fit again.

However, I think that because there’s been so much spare time now, the players must be really fit,

To hear they can now do physical contact will be good in my point of view, mainly because the players will be able to pass and run between each other.

Bringing in the 11-a-side games in training will be a huge move forward.

You don’t really get the hard tackles that you would see during a competitive match in training, so picking up an injury shouldn’t be a concern.

Having the contact will also allow teams to properly work on set-pieces, as they usually involve a lot of contact and players being grouped together inside the area.

Being able to practice corners with someone crossing the ball means the managers will be able to replicate in-game scenarios and the players will be given something extra to think about.

A goalkeeper will have to think whether he wants to come off his line and claim the ball, whereas the striker will be thinking whether he wants to head it or wait for it to drop so he can shoot.

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but once a decision is made to start competitive games, whether it’s with a crowd or inside an empty stadium, the nine remaining Premier League games should be treated as pre-season matches.

Every team would normally have games like this in the summer, sometimes starting with local friendlies which builds up to serious opposition.

Most of the Premier League clubs finish their pre-season by going abroad and playing bigger sides.

I think the advantage of using the nine games still needed to play is that they will definitely be competitive because there is so much at stake - not so much at the top of the league, but certainly inside the bottom six.

I couldn’t believe some people would want to finish the Premier League now and relegate the bottom three.

How would you feel if you were Eddie Howe at Bournemouth?

They are in the relegation zone but have the same amount of points as those above them. They are only third-bottom because they have conceded one more goal than Watford and two more than West Ham.

That’s the biggest reason why these games need to be played out and hopefully this will happen.

It would be perfect if crowds were allowed in because, unlike normal pre-season games, the stadiums will be full and TV will be there.

But let’s wait and see.

It will have to be seen how many players test positive for coronavirus now that contact will be allowed during training.

I’VE read about a group of Premier League managers saying they would prefer the new season to start later than the original suggested date of June 12.

This puzzled me a bit because their reason, apparently, was to get the players fit.

But surely if the players have been training at home like they should have been, followed by training in small groups, then they should be ready to go.

Having said that, the reason is probably that they haven’t been playing full matches or had the time to discuss systems and work out formations.

We have waited long enough to see football return, but I suppose another week or two won’t make that much difference!


CALL me old fashioned, but I mentioned recently the disgraceful abuse Ian Wright was subjected to on social media.

This week, another player, Troy Deeney from Watford, who was in the public eye a week or two ago when he said he didn’t want to train, has also revealed he’s been abused online.

The reason he didn’t want to train in small groups was that he has a young child with breathing difficulties and hadn’t seen enough evidence that a return to training would be safe.

Deeney has this week explained that he’ll be going back to training which is also when he revealed the level of abuse he received for speaking out.

I couldn’t believe that one person went as far as saying he hopes Troy’s child “catches corona”.

In our day, a player would have asked the manager if he could train at home before explaining his reasons why and making it clear that he’ll come back when he’s ready.

Although Troy put the news out himself, the abuse he received on social media needs to be looked at.