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'I hope your son gets coronavirus' | Troy Deeney receives online abuse

Phil Egan
Phil Egan

10:39 28 May 2020

Watford captain Troy Deeney says he has been abused online and in public for speaking out about the potential return of the Premier League.

Premier League clubs are set to resume contact training after voting unanimously in favour of moving to phase 2 of "Project Restart" but Deeney is yet to return to training with Watford.

Deeney said the main reason he did not feel comfortable going back to work was because he was worried about the health of his son, who was born prematurely and has breathing problems.

The 31-year-old also raised concerns about the disproportionate amount of coronavirus deaths in the BAME community.

Deeney told CNN Sport that people online have been wishing ill on his five-month-old baby.
"I saw some comments in regards to my son, people saying: 'I hope your son gets corona[virus]," Deeney told CNN Sport.
"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."
Deeney is not the only Premier League player to express his concerns about the resumption of the season and he says he has received plenty of private messages of support. However, he believes the backlash he has received means it will make other players think twice about questioning the decision.
"In a time where it's all about mental health and everyone says: 'Speak up, speak out, please speak,' Danny Rose spoke out ... and I spoke out and we just get absolutely hammered and battered for it.
"So people see that and go: 'Woah' and it's not just us that gets 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.'"
Watford are just above the relegation zone in the Premier League, leading many to suggest it would suit Deeney and the Hornets if the season was cancelled and they avoided the drop to the Championship.
However, Chelsea are in the top four and midfielder N'Golo Kante decided against training last week because of concerns for his health.
Deeney felt public opinion began to change: "Personally, I just think this is showing me that the players have so much power if they actually all came together.
"That's what this is showing me. I've had a lot of messages of support from people that I wouldn't normally -- well, that I didn't even know had my number for a start.
"But certainly from players from bigger clubs and that shows me that I must be doing something right because I'm just a little old Troy from Watford and everyone seems to listen to what I say."

Deeney will return to training next week after the Premier League allayed his fears.

"I just think my concerns were purely for family reasons, I needed more questions answered with a bit more authority and, at the start, they couldn't really do that, but not for any reason or want [of trying], it was just because they didn't have the information."

Deeney has also been encouraged after a few conversations with Dr Jonathan Van-Tam, the Government's deputy chief medical officer.

"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."

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