Watford captain Troy Deeney says he will not return to training this week with teammates over concerns about protecting his young son from any potential exposure to the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Premier League teams are permitted to resume non-contact group training as of Tuesday for the first time since the league went on hiatus on March 13 due to the outbreak.
Speaking to boxing promoter Eddie Hearn and retired cruiserweight Tony Bellew on their YouTube show, the 31-year-old Deeney says he can't take any chances with his baby's well-being.
"We're due back in this week, I've said I'm not going in," Deeney said. "It only takes one person to get infected within the group and I don't want to be bringing that home. My son is only five months old, he had breathing difficulties, so I don't want to come home to put him in more danger."
Deeney was part of a Premier League meeting with medical experts last week where he asked about the heightened risk for black players, Asian players and players of mixed ethnicities. The UK's National Office of Statistics says that black men and women are twice as likely to die of the coronavirus than white men and women in England and Wales.
"My problem was in the meeting, I asked very simple questions," Deeney said. "For black, Asian and mixed ethnicities, they're four times more likely to get the illness, they're twice as likely to have long-lasting illnesses - is there anything extra, additional screening, heart stuff to see if people have got problems with that? No. Okay, well, I feel that should be addressed.
"I can't get a haircut until mid-July but I can go and get in a box with 19 people and go and jump for a header and nobody could answer the questions, not because they didn't want to, just because they don't know the information. So I said if you don't know the information, why would I put myself at risk?"
Deeney is in his 10th season with the Hornets. In 17 league appearances prior to the break, Deeney scored six goals.