Manuel Lanzini: It would be ‘crazy’ for football to return before vaccine found/Unnamed PL star claims players ‘feel like circus animals’

West Ham star Manuel Lanzini has today revealed his reservations over a return to Premier League action, before a legitimate coronavirus vaccine has been discovered.

PL return?

As the COVID-19 crisis continues to wreak havoc on sporting events around the globe, football has been brought to a near standstill.

In Europe, Belarus remains the only country in which top-flight football continues to be played, with the Champions League and Europa League having also been postponed for the time being.

This, of course, means that the Premier League has ground to a halt, just weeks before Liverpool had been expected to clinch their first title in 30 years.

Liverpool’s Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah celebrates with teammates after he scoring his team’s first goal during the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Bournemouth at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on March 7, 2020. (Photo by GEOFF CADDICK / AFP)

As other top leagues across Europe begin work towards a return to domestic action over the coming weeks, though, English football’s authorities have continued to push forward with resumption plans of their own.

At a meeting between Premier League shareholders last week, it was reiterated that the ultimate goal of all 20 top-flight clubs is to play out the remaining weeks of the campaign.

‘Need to protect others’

Despite plans for ‘Project Restart‘ now well underway, though, many, including some players, have voiced their concerns over football in England potentially returning too soon, a course of action which would of course jeopardise the health of all involved.

And, as outlined above, the latest Premier League star to have admitted that he remains altogether uneasy over the prospect an imminent return to the pitch is Manuel Lanzini.

In fact, speaking in an interview with the Telegraph earlier today, West Ham midfielder Lanzini went as far as to suggest that it would be ‘crazy’ for the Premier League season to get back underway before a COVID-19 vaccine becomes readily available:

‘For me it would be crazy for the Premier League to resume until there is a vaccine to protect you.’

‘If you ask me if I want to play, obviously, but you need to protect others. I wouldn’t start now.’

‘We’re just the mugs’

Lanzini’s fears, meanwhile, have since been echoed by another of the English top-flight’s stars, during an illuminating interview with John Nicholson of Football365.

The player, who has remained unnamed for obvious reasons, raised a series of interesting points with regards to the current mindset of football stars, of whom many feel as though they are being treated ‘like circus animals’.

An excerpt from the discussion can be seen below, with the full interview here.

‘It’d be nice if we got a say in it, we’re just the mugs who have to play and put our health at risk. A lot of lads’ minds are not on playing football right now and they won’t be in four weeks either.’

‘So much to do with playing football is about how your head is. If you’re not fully focused, you’re no good. And we see the death toll everyday and it’s really distracting and worrying for everyone. What I’d like someone to tell us is how many deaths per day is an okay amount to allow us to play football again? 600 means no, but 200 means yes? I can’t accept that.’

‘It just feels wrong to me and I know many of the boys feel the same. Reading between the lines, they feel a bit like they’re being treated like circus animals, like it’s our duty to go out and entertain people, as if there’s a war on. We keep being told health and welfare of players is the most important thing, but I’m cynical about that. Very bloody cynical.’

‘Also, you‘ve got to remember, some lads will have relations who have died. No, heads aren’t right. We’re not robots. You can’t just flip a switch and we’ll perform. If any fans think we’re all champing at the bit to get going at all costs, I can tell you we’re not. I’m not up for it at all.’

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This article was edited by Josh Barker.

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