LONDON: Former England head coach Sam Allardyce believes authorities will have to give greater importance to mental conditioning of the players before they can get back to resuming football in the country. The former Bolton Wanderers manager believes players should be told they won't be reprimanded if they opt against playing in such unprecedented conditions.
Football in England has been suspended since March as a precautionary measure against coronavirus pandemic and Allardyce feels if the players are scared they won't be able to perform at optimum levels on the pitch.
"Getting the players fit in four weeks could be done, but that's the least of their worries. I think the biggest challenge for the players will be dealing with the mental side," Allardyce wrote in his column for The Times. "I'd reassure them that there would be no repercussions if they decided that they'd find it too difficult to play. I'd really hate it if someone was ridiculed for saying 'I just can't do it'. Nobody must be put under any undue pressure to play.
"If they're too scared about those conditions, they won't be able to perform to their best, and then they will start getting criticised."
Premier League is targetting mid-June as a possible date for resumption of football in the country. Earlier, Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero was one of the first players to raise such concerns regarding the safety of footballers and their families.
"The majority of players are scared because they have children and families," Aguero told Argentine TV station El Chiringuito. "I'm scared, but I'm with my girlfriend and I'm not going to be in contact with other people. I'm locked in my house and the only person I could infect is my girlfriend." IANS