Smalling: ‘Coronavirus dawned’ on England late

Roma defender Chris Smalling said friends back in England are asking for advice on “how to cope” during the coronavirus lockdown. “It definitely dawned on people a bit later there. We are eager to go, but know some things are more important than football.”

The former Manchester United centre-back spoke to the official Roma Twitter account about his experiences in Italy this season, which included the first wave of the pandemic outside China.

“It definitely dawned on people a bit later there, I think,” he wrote. “Mates were asking me about the lockdown and stuff, but I don’t think they thought they would have it to. But, as we’ve seen, it’s a global thing. Now they have questions about how to cope!”

The Serie A clubs have gone to varying lengths to ensure their players remain in shape, from Inter delivering personalised food every day to practically all of them providing gym equipment and a schedule of fitness exercises.

“Still training every day, keeping things ticking over. The club has been great, really involved and helping to make sure we have what we need. When it started, they rang us all and asked us a bit about our situations – if we have a garden, what gym equipment we already have etc.

“I am lucky enough to have a garden, so they gave me a programme that incorporates bodyweight exercises and then stuff I can do in the garden. They also sent over some stuff – resistance bands and things like that. I do some days more cardio, some with circuit training.

“We’ve got an app for conference calls and stuff with the coaches. They send us a (diet) plan, but they did that before too. The only difference is now we eat every meal at home – before we ate a lot at Trigoria (training ground).”

With the number of new cases dropping every day, Italy is moving towards phase 2 of the pandemic response and a date of May 20-28 is being floated for the resumption of Serie A football.

“We wait on them and the authorities to decide what is best,” continued Smalling. “But we know there will be a lot of games to play in a short time, so we need to be ready for that. We’ll need two or three weeks of training to get back up to full speed – and then it could be a busy run of games!

“We are eager to go, but we know this is a global pandemic – some things are bigger and more important than football.”

At least the England defender is keeping busy with a 10-month old baby at home, but did manage to watch Tiger King on Netflix when he had the chance and played Uno over Facetime.

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