With the timing of the future of football resuming this season still very much in the balance, it’s hard to predict what kind of shape the players will be in if and when the game returns. Football has been on a kind of pause since the coronavirus pandemic swept the globe and all sport, along with most other aspects of life, were suspended as the nation – and planet — was put on lockdown.
And whatever method the football authorities choose to conclude the campaign, one thing is for sure — we need a decision sooner rather than later so that managers, fitness coaches and the backroom staff at every club can start planning for the resumption. There have been countless stories looking at how players have been keeping themselves fit, cleverly utilising back garden, working out in quickly-assembled gyms and in the case of Tottenham Hotspur boss Jose Mourinho, foolishly taking a mini-training season at his local park with three of his players.
One Premier League manager who is worried about the prospect of players’ fitness when they return is West Ham United head coach David Moyes. He believes that all clubs must have a one-month training build-up after restrictions are eased — but he says that he understands fully that this may not be entirely possible. That, he concedes, could lead to a clutch of injuries as the fixtures come thick and fast.
Hammers boss Moyes, who is in his second spell at the London Stadium as gaffer, said:
“I think that four weeks would be absolutely ideal. But I think three weeks will be the maximum we get if I am honest. Everybody’s now talking about the injuries we are liable to pick up either during the three-week preparation time or during the period where it looks like we’ll have to play an awful lot of games in what without doubt will be a very short period of time.”
The Hammers were in 16th position when football came to a grinding halt last month, and the Londoners looked as if they were set to pull away from the dreaded top-flight drop zone. And Moyes believes he has created a new air of optimism at the club and can’t wait to get going again when things return to normal.
“I want to build a new, energetic, young team and I think we’ve just started that. With the signings we’ve brought in January, trying to freshen it up and given us a lot more youthfulness and direction.”
Moyes is making the right noises as far as West ham United fans are concerned. For the time being, however, he will need to be as patient as everyone else until we are safe to resume to the way of life we once cherished.