London (AFP) – Watford defender Christian Kabasele says restarting the Premier League on June 12 would be “impossible” because it would put players at risk of injury.
Premier League chiefs have set their sights on a mid-June resumption and clubs went back to training in small groups this week.
But Kabasele believes the timescale means players will not have enough time to get to peak fitness.
“We speak about June 12,” he told the Counter Attack podcast. “I think it is impossible because it would be less than three weeks’ training after a long period without doing anything. It’s a risk for us.
“I’m not sure, I don’t have any information but I think we are not going to start June 12.
“The most obvious choice for me is the end of June. Like this you have at least four weeks to train with the team if it’s possible.”
Premier League chief executive Richard Masters this week described the June 12 date as a “staging post” and said there would be flexibility in fixture scheduling.
Watford defender Adrian Mariappa and two members of the club’s staff tested positive for the coronavirus, while Hornets captain Troy Deeney refused to train because of fears over his family’s health.
Later Friday, Watford manager Nigel Pearson revealed two more of his squad are in self-isolation after members of their family tested positive for the virus.
“The testing situation is obviously to minimise risk, so for the players and staff who have been in this week statistically they should be a lot safer but it is still a surprise for those who have tested positive,” said Pearson.
“They’re all feeling OK, and likewise for their families as well. That is important for us to make sure that those people – their health is OK.
“In addition to that we’ve had a couple more people who have to be in isolation because they’ve been in close contact with people who have tested positive, even though their own result came back negative.
“I think that shows the types of complications that we’ve got. Today everybody has been tested again, we were tested on Friday morning, and we await further results over the weekend now.”
Kabasele said he understood why Deeney had opted to stay away from training, a decision that Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante has also taken.
Kabasele said the club were not putting pressure on players to return.
“If it was starting tomorrow training 11 v 11 with contact, with everybody at the training ground, I would not go that’s for sure,” he said.
“But with phase one, personally I think everything is put in place and they have tried to make the training ground as safe as possible.”
The English Football League will announce the first results from virus tests among Championship players on Sunday.
Second-tier clubs have carried out the tests this week ahead of their return to small-group training from Monday.