Raheem Sterling has joined the growing list of Premier League stars to warn against a rushed return to action, insisting players need ‘four to five’ weeks of preparation before resuming competitive fixtures.
Football has been suspended since mid-March in the wake of the ongoing pandemic, though talks are continuing over a return for the Premier League behind-closed-doors next month, with clubs set to vote on proposals for a return to training in small groups today.
Several stars have raised their concerns over the safety of a return to football amid the current crisis, with the likes of Chelsea’s Tammy Abraham and Sterling’s Manchester City teammate Sergio Aguero having voiced their apprehension over the health and welfare of players.
Sterling has now given his verdict on a return to action, echoing the sentiments of Newcastle boss Steve Bruce, warning that players are at risk of injury if they are forced into returning with only minimal preparation.
“They are saying games started by June 12,” Sterling said during a chat with Megan Rapinoe on his YouTube channel. “You can’t come back in with one-and-a-half or two weeks (of training). You’d need a full four to five weeks, especially if you’re going to go back into competition.
“You’re not playing friendlies, you’re playing to win. It’s going to count for something. You do need to do that preparation definitely – you can’t just go straight in.
“I know the clubs are in talks and doing their best to try and find the best resolution for this. But we’ve had a few meetings cancelled, even on Zoom, to talk about the restart so we just have to wait and see.”