The Premier League has today given clubs the go ahead to conduct friendly matches as activity ramps up towards the proposed June 16th restart of the league.
The last round of coronavirus tests conducted across the league all came back negative so resumption of play remains on track, though the only players that will be allowed to feature in these friendlies will be ones that have not recorded a positive test in that period.
The practice games will be played at either stadiums or training grounds, however there are additional social distancing and hygiene rules that must be followed too [Telegraph].
- Clubs are forbidden from travelling for further than 90 minutes
- All players must travel in their own cars, possibly in their kits
- No official referees will be allowed, with members of coaching staff taking charge
- Full risk-assessments of the stadium/training ground before games
Everton are yet to indicate who and when they will be playing in their friendlies.
A full-scale 11v11 practice match is planned for late next week with the British Government having allowed competitive sport behind closed doors as part of ‘Phase 3’.
Per the Everton website, Head of Physical Conditioning Francesco Mauri said that the “biggest” session of a “normal” training week falls on the second of five days – meaning the players are today [Tuesday] undergoing their toughest workout since reporting back to USM Finch Farm nearly a fortnight ago.
“We do almost all the training with the ball but it is more aggressive on the most demanding day. We use small spaces and work with a lot of intensity.
“The physical focus is to achieve a high number of accelerations and decelerations – to do a lot of movements like tackles, shooting and contact. On Tuesday we will have a tournament with four teams of four, we set up two small pitches, 40m long and 35m wide.
“Games last two-and-a-half minutes and when the ball goes out we restart from the goalkeepers so the intensity remains very high. Competition also creates high intensity because the players want to win. We have six to eight games, after every game you rotate so you play two or three games against each team.
“They are teammates but there is a lot of competition between teammates. Ultimately, you have to show you deserve to play, so sometimes you have to be better than your teammates to have that possibility.”
The league’s other 16 teams will continue their campaigns behind closed doors over the weekend of June 19-21, with the BBC reporting that the aim is to have completed the outstanding 92 fixtures by July 25.
Confirmation of the dates of the league’s remaining games is expected any time, though it is likely that this season’s Goodison Park Merseyside derby will mark Everton’s first game back in action since the resumption. If certain Manchester City results go Liverpool’s way before then, it could give Jurgen Klopp’s men the chance to clinch the title by beating their near neighbours.