Glenn Murray believes Premier League football is being rushed back too soon, with the Brighton striker feeling the fact England is the worst-hit country for Covid-19 in Europe has been overlooked by some.
The Premier League invited club captains and managers to share their thoughts on a return to action during conference calls on Wednesday.
Murray was on the call about how and when training will step up before a prospective mid-June return – a timescale he believes is a little rushed.
“Football isn’t necessarily a necessity – it’s a game, it’s a sport,” he told Sky Sports. “I mean, what if we go through all this rigmarole of trying to get back started and we have a second peak and we’re stopped anyways?
“I just can’t understand after just sort of loosening the lockdown why we’re in such a rush to get it back. Why can’t we just wait sort of a month or so to see if things go to plan?”
Murray said the in-depth call was mainly focused on the first phase of returning to training grounds on a physical-distancing level. The 36-year-old believes most players are “pretty happy” with phase one but, given the variety of individual situations, believes “there is a little bit of reluctance in certain pockets of players” to move to phase two.
“When I say some players may be reluctant to return I don’t want that to be perceived as sort of this snowflake mentality and ‘we’re worried about ourselves’ because I don’t think that’s the case,” he said.
“It’s more about the people we’re going home to that we’re worried about and everyone’s in different situations and have different people at home with possible illnesses or pregnancies or children, young newborns. We just need to take everyone’s situations into consideration.”
When it was put to Murray that the phasing is in place for a gradual return to action, he said: “Yes it is but what’s the point in getting halfway through the phase and stopping? Why not see how the country deals with softening the lockdown first before we even think about starting unnecessary sport when people are dying all around us and the death rates are still high?”
The league hopes to get the backing of clubs for its plans at a meeting on Monday, after seeing the Bundesliga kick-off over the coming weekend – the first of Europe’s main leagues to resume.
“We’re all going to be watching the Bundesliga because it’s football and we all love football,” Murray said. “It’ll be nice to see a live sport on TV without doubt. But I think what we’re not taking into consideration is that Germany have only had seven, eight thousand deaths, I think, and they’ve got 20 million more people than us.
“We’re up to like 34,000 now – we’re the worst hit in Europe. No one seems to take that in consideration.”