Premier League: Troy Deeney reveals abuse he’s suffered after expressing concern over Premier League restart

Deeney told CNN Sport that people online wished his five-month-old baby was born prematurely and had difficulty breathing, while street people told him to “go back to work”.

“I have seen comments about my son, people saying,” I hope your son gets the crown[virus]”Deeney told CNN Sport.” This is the hardest part for me. If you answer that, people say, “Ah, we have it” and they keep doing it. “

Clubs unanimously voted on Wednesday to resume contact training, step two of the league’s “ return to training protocol ”, although the Premier League later announced that four players and staff of three clubs tested positive for Covid-19.

Deeney was one of many top players to publicly question a possible recovery and says he has received private support for his opinions. However, he believes that the backlash he and other outspoken players have received means that other footballers may be afraid to speak up about their concerns.

“At a time when everything revolves around mental health and when everyone says:” Speak, speak, please, speak “, Danny Rose spoke … and I spoke and we are absolutely hammered and beaten for it, “adds Deeney, referring to the English defender’s comments on” Project Restart “.

“So people see it and go:” Woah “and it’s not just us who get it, the missus gets direct messages and you walk in the street and people say,” Oh, I’m at work, go back to work. ‘”

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While Watford is precariously near the bottom of the Premier League, Deeney says that much of the criticism he has received has been accusations of wanting the season to be canceled so his club can avoid relegation.

However, once players from the top league teams – including Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero and Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante – began to voice their concerns, Deeney said public opinion was beginning to switch.

“Personally, I just think it shows me that the players have so much power if they all got together,” he said. “That’s what it shows me. I’ve received a lot of support from people I wouldn’t normally have – well, I didn’t even know I had my number to start with.

“But certainly from big club players and it shows me that I have to do something good because I’m just a little old Troy from Watford and everyone seems to listen to what I say.”

Since speaking for the first time, much of the narrative has been presented as “ Deeney versus the Premier League, ” but the attacker speaks highly of how the organization tried to dispel its fears.

Deeney says he has now had “four or five” meetings with the Premier League – some productive, others “passionate”.

“I just think my concerns were purely family related,” says Deeney, referring to her young son. “I needed answers to more questions with a little more authority and, at first, they couldn’t really do that, but not for a reason or a desire [of trying], it’s just because they didn’t have the information.

Deeney says players are concerned about going public due to a potential backlash.

“I think everyone can enjoy everything that the Premier League is trying to do too. I don’t think it’s pure negligence: ‘We go back to work and get on board or [else],’ it’s not like that. They have very good lines of communication.

“These meetings are not too safe – there are frustrating conversations. When someone said I was at the same risk of getting coronavirus while playing football or going to the supermarket, I said, ‘I don’t ‘ve never had to jump for a head while picking up a cucumber.

“But there were also some very good ones too.”

Deeney says he also met with Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, Deputy Chief Physician for the British government, who provided more information on statistics showing that people from minorities are disproportionately affected by Covid-19.

“He is doing very, very good research and there is a lot of good will on his part to tell me, in the end, that I will be taken care of as best as they can and, ultimately, there will be have some form of risk for all of us to go back to work, “says Deeney.

“Confinement [ending] and diminishing social distancing means that people will always be at risk. ”

The integrity of the Premier League is already gone

Watford Deeney is the only team to beat Liverpool in the Premier League this season, winning 3-0 at the end of February to end what many thought was just the second undefeated season after the Arsenal Invincibles.

Before the coronavirus pandemic ended the season, Liverpool had an insurmountable 25-point lead at the top of the table and were only two victories away from winning a top-tier title for 30 years.

Watford stunned Liverpool to inflict the Reds & # 39; first defeat in the Premier League season.

Regardless of what’s going on for the rest of this campaign, Deeney believes Jurgen Klopp’s team should be crowned champion but also sympathizes with how the circumstances of any potential title win are likely to be remembered.

“I think when it comes to the integrity of this season anyway, it’s already gone,” said Deeney. “I’m sorry for Liverpool because no matter how it plays out, they deserve to win the league. They deserve to get the trophy.

“But no matter how it is played, even if we play all the games, it will always be the year spoiled by the pandemic. It will not be that year that Liverpool won the league by being the best team and, you you know, it’s been 30 years that they haven’t won since.

“So I’m sorry for Liverpool and their players and Jordan [Henderson], but in terms of integrity, there is no way to say it is a viable competition, “added Deeney, referring to the Liverpool captain.

“It’s like running a marathon, 20 odd kilometers, stopping for two months, then sprinting the last bit and saying,” Ah, it was a good time. “”

“Thrown under the bus”

In early April, British Secretary of Health Matt Hancock gave a response during the daily coronavirus briefing, in which he specifically called on Premier League players to do more during the crisis.

“I think everyone has to play their part in this national effort and that also means for Premier League footballers,” said Hancock.

“Given the sacrifices people make, including some of my NHS colleagues, who made the ultimate sacrifice and went to work and got sick and unfortunately died, I think the first thing footballers Premier League can do is help take a pay cut and play their part. “

Hancock’s comments played a role in the Premier League players becoming a lightning rod for public and political criticism at the start of the pandemic.

This was exacerbated when a number of Premier League clubs chose to use the British government’s employment program – intended to help employers most affected by the closure of Covid-19 – to help pay wages. non-playing staff members placed on temporary leave.

“If you remember, we were thrown under the bus by a politician here in the UK who said that football players have to do more to donate to the NHS,” said Deeney.

“We were already talking about donating as players, these conversations were already going on and it just escalated because someone had decided to throw footballers under the bus.”

“What we sometimes feel is, ‘There’s a crisis, let’s go see the footballers.’ So this is the NHS, it could be anything. The politician who said we should be doing more wondered, “Could he give up some of his money?” And he said that he was going to work harder. So it was nice to hear. “

CNN contacted the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs for comments, but has yet to receive a response.

“At that time, it was very early in the pandemic, we were watching all the news, really trying to find out what was going on today,” added Deeney. “Most of us [players] you look at it and you see it and you say to yourself, “Where does it come from?” “

Less than a week after Hancock’s comments, Premier League footballers announced a collective initiative called “ PlayersTogether ” that would donate funds to NHS charities during the pandemic.

“And for the players, even if we went out and said,” We all donated X amounts of money, “it still won’t be enough,” said Deeney.

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