This is what training now looks like at Sheffield United
Judging by the pictures published on Bramall Lane’s social media channels, Sheffield United’s players could not wait strap-on their shin pads and resume contract training following two months of stretching, running and pedalling on their club issue watt bikes.
Chris Wilder’s squad are notoriously hard trainers at the best of times. So it was no surprise, after spending more than two months in lockdown because of the coronavirus pandemic, to see them flying into tackles in the sunshine at Shirecliffe.
But as they prepare for June 17th’s visit to Aston Villa - the first Premier League fixture since the season was suspended in March - United’s players must still adhere to a series of strict rules and guidelines whenever they report to work. This week’s decision to implement phase two of ‘Project Restart’ represented a return to something nearer normality. Not normality itself.
Although challenges are now permitted and restrictions on the amount of time footballers can spend with coaching staff have been lifted, numbers taking part in the sessions remain limited.
That means eleven versus eleven practice matches are still prohibited although it is hoped the situation could, depending upon the latest round of Covid-19 tests results, change shortly.
United and their top-flight rivals have also been instructed not to share equipment, with bibs and mannequins being disinfected after use.
Although they are now allowed to warm-up together, albeit whilst following social distancing protocols, drinks breaks are required to be kept to a minimum while dressing rooms at the Steelphalt Academy remain closed.