Liverpool defender Nat Phillips is currently on loan with 2. Bundesliga outfit VfB Stuttgart and gave an insight into the precautions being taken as German football prepares to return to competitive action this weekend.
Phillips and his Stuttgart teammates return to action on Sunday at SV Wehen and the young centre-back gave details on what it’s like for players in Germany at the moment.
Speaking to Liverpoolfc.com, Phillips said:
“We were training in small groups for a while. We have probably been doing that for about three or four weeks already. That was obviously a different experience, it’s not often you have to train in small groups like that – for an extended period, anyway. But that was enjoyable; more enjoyable than having to do individual training and running on our own.
“Then we’ve been training as a team since last Thursday, I think. Obviously it’s different because it’s probably the longest I’ve gone for a while, barring injuries, not training as a team. Even when you have an off-season, they don’t last that long or you still get to go and kick a ball about at some point. We weren’t doing that. It’s nice to be back training now and preparing for games.”
Phillips went on to discuss the social distancing measures that were being taken every day at VfB Stuttgart’s training ground.
“When we first went back, it was small groups so we’d arrive at 15 or 20-minute intervals with three or four of the players that you were training with; standard social distancing, maintaining two metres apart even around training.
“We all got our own parts of the dressing rooms, so there was only ever four or five players in one dressing room at a time. The sessions, there was no contact, it was mostly technical work, whereby you wouldn’t be coming into close contact with each other at any point during the training. And standard hygiene as well.
“We had our temperature checked every morning as we arrived at the training facility. You took your kit home, and drove to and from training in your kit. So you didn’t spend much time at the ground and when you did you still maintained distance from each other, even on the training pitch.”
Then Phillips discussed the preparations this week as the club got ready for German football’s return.
“Right now, we’re in a hotel at the moment for this week in isolation as a team, so there’s no contact with anybody outside of the football club. It’s just to training in the morning, straight back to the hotel – the same thing every day for the week building up to this first game.
“Even still, we’re getting our temperatures checked every morning. I think I’ve had three or four coronavirus tests already, I think they’re done roughly two or three times a week.
“And the same thing, where you can you maintain your distance. I’m car-sharing with a player so we’ve got to wear masks in the car on the way into training when we’re in that together.”
Premier League officials along with the rest of English football will be paying close attention to how Germany copes with the reintroduction of professional football this weekend.
Much of what happens in the Bundesliga will lay the blueprints for how football is professional football is reinstated across all of Europe over the coming weeks and months.
Let’s hope it all goes as smoothly as possible with minimum health repercussions.
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