It’s an interesting and scary time to be alive right now, with the coronavirus sweeping across the globe and forcing drastic social countermeasures in the UK and elsewhere. However, Tottenham Hotspur are trying to keep things as normal as possible and as of Thursday are continuing to train as though football is coming back as soon as possible.
Dan Kilpatrick of the Evening Standard writes that the club remains on “high alert” as the number of viral infections continues to rise in London and elsewhere, but that Spurs are still training albeit with some slight adjustments in staffing at Hotspur Way.
However, the pause in football will continue for longer than initially thought, with reports now emerging that football’s suspension will now be extended to the end of April.
The Premier League, FA, EFL and WSL have "collectively agreed that the professional game in England will be further postponed until no earlier than 30 April" and "are united in finding ways to resume 2019/20 season as soon as it is safe to do".— Alasdair Gold (@AlasdairGold) March 19, 2020
The tenor of the statement suggests that with the delay of this summer’s EUROs the Premier League may try and resume during the late spring/summer months, but this has not yet been confirmed. It does suggest, however, that the league is keen to make sure that this season’s league schedule is fully completed.
Spurs were given a day off on Wednesday, but were expected to return to the training pitch today. Currently there are no reports of any players or coaching staff testing positive for coronavirus at Tottenham, though Spurs have reportedly drastically scaled back the number of staff at the training center and allowed others to work from home.
Mourinho has bemoaned the lack of an extended period to train with his new club ever since he took charge midway through the season, and the pause in football has given him that chance to work closely with his team on tactics and technique. The pause also gives additional time for some of Spurs’ injured players to heal and continue their rehabilitation and reintegration into the squad.
But is training during a pandemic actually a good thing? With social distancing now the recommendation in order to prevent the spread of the virus, the Standard reports that Manchester United and Southampton both voluntarily stopped training sessions, adhering to governmental guidelines. Other clubs that have been exposed to the coronavirus are instead providing individualized training and fitness programs for their athletes that they can do at home, instead of meeting as a team on the pitch. There are those who are taking the view that Spurs should be doing the same, regardless of whether anyone at the training center are sick or not.
You’d imagine that the players, coaches and staff are getting tested for the virus and the situation will change if there are positive tests or someone with close access to the players is exposed, or if there is a general quarantine called by the UK government. That could happen anytime. But not at Tottenham, at least for now, things are continuing as though the Premier League season will resume at some point, until they are told otherwise.