Tom Cleverley during his spell at Villa.

Former Aston Villa loanee Tom Cleverley wary of restart

Tom Cleverley warns the Premier League’s Project Restart could be in ‘jeopardy’ if phase two results in a spike in coronavirus cases.

The second round of tests revealed two people, from the 996 tests taken, were positive for the virus.

The first batch found six people from three clubs had tested positive, including Watford’s Adrian Mariappa, and his team-mate – former Villa loanee Cleverley – has reservations over football’s return.

“Phase one is as safe as going to the supermarket. But in phase two, you could be rubbing shoulders with 15, 20 guys on the same day,” he said.

“So if we get into phase two and there’s a sudden spike in positive cases, that puts the whole thing in jeopardy. Let’s wait for the information and the schedule on phase two and see if the players are happy with it.”

Alongside Mariappa, two staff members at Watford had contracted the disease, while captain and former Walsall striker Troy Deeney was one of a handful of players who chose to stay away from training due to health concerns.

“There was a lot of shock, especially for me. I am really close to Mariappa,” Cleverley added.

“I speak to him most days. We have been doing seriously tough two–hour sessions on an online workout. For someone who tested positive doing that sort of workout really did shock and worry me.

“Today I have been tested and you think that could be me, I have no clue that I have coronavirus.”

Meanwhile, Premier League chief executive Richard Masters says no clubs have raised the idea of scrapping relegation if the season is played out.

Reports have suggested that clubs fighting for survival would be unhappy with the idea of competing in neutral venues by when asked how many clubs had asked for the season to be curtailed, and relegation scrapped, Masters said: “None, and none.

“All I can go on is what we’re discussing in our meetings. And you specifically asked about scrapping relegation while playing out the season, and that has never been raised in our formal meetings at all.”