Troy Deeney has scored six goals in the Premier League this season
Watford captain Troy Deeney says people told him they wished his baby son would contract coronavirus after he chose not to return to training.
Deeney did not want to put his child, who has had breathing difficulties, “in more danger” and raised concerns over the increased risk to black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) players.
He is due to resume training next week.
“I saw some comments in regards to my son, people saying: ‘I hope your son gets corona’,” Deeney, 31, said.
He told CNN Sport: “That’s the hard part for me. If you respond to that, people then go: ‘Ah, we’ve got him’ and they keep doing it.
“In a time where it’s all about mental health and everyone says ‘speak up, speak out, please speak’, Danny Rose spoke out and I spoke out and we just get absolutely hammered and battered for it.
“So people see that and go ‘woah’ and it’s not just us that gets it, the missus gets direct messages and you’ll be walking down the street and people will be like: ‘Oh, I’m at work, you go back to work’.”
On Wednesday, Premier League clubs unanimously voted to resume contact training but Watford are not expected to resume group training until next week.
Deeney has spoken with England’s deputy chief medical officer, Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, and is expected to return to club training next week.
“He’s been doing very, very good research and there is a lot of goodwill on his part to tell me, ultimately, that I’m going to be looked after as best as they can and, ultimately, there is going to be some form of risk for all of us going back to work,” Deeney said.
“Lockdown and the social distancing measures coming down mean people will still always have risk.”