Townsend: Players keen for contact training after successful testing

Crystal Palace star Andros Townsend insists latest coronavirus test results show Premier League training grounds are ‘the safest workplace in the country’

  • First round’s results returned six positive tests from 748 players and staff tested 
  • The second round of testing this week returned two positive samples from 996
  • Townsend claims the latest results is encouraging a return to contact training
  • Premier League chiefs pushing ahead with resumption of matches next month 
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Crystal Palace winger Andros Townsend claims the latest coronavirus test results is encouraging players to become increasingly keen for a return to contact training.

Players and officials have voiced concern about the Premier League’s plans for Project Restart and the proposed resumption of matches next month amid the threat of contracting coronavirus.

The second round of testing at top-flight clubs this week returned two positive samples from 996 taken to give a total of eight positives from 1,744 tests conducted across two rounds.    

Crystal Palace winger Andros Townsend has welcomed the latest coronavirus test results

And Townsend feels the fact that positive tests are not spreading within squads is a hugely positive sign with the Premier League determined for clubs to restart full-contact training next week.

‘Speaking to the boys we’re desperate to get back to normality and contact training,’ Townsend told Sky Sports.

‘At the start of the week you’re worried about being near other players but as the days go on you get more and more comfortable with each positive test.

The second round of testing at top-flight clubs returned two positive samples from 996

‘If it was two people from the same club (who had tested positive at different times) you’d start to ask questions about how it had spread around the training ground.

‘But the fact it’s at two different clubs and they’ve kept it from spreading shows that we’re in the safest workplace in the country and it gives us confidence to move on to the next phase of testing.

‘We’re training in groups of eight so there’s 16 players from the squad I just haven’t seen. So I’m talking to them and talking to players at other clubs and they’re desperate to get back to contact training like we are.

Brighton players asked the club to tone down their outspoken opposition of Project Restart

‘Hopefully with each successful round of testing we can get a few more players back into training and some time next week we can move on to phase two.’

Townsend also provided some detail on what takes place during a coronavirus test for a Premier League player.

‘After you finish training, you get in your car and then pull up at a window where they swab the back of your throat and they swab up your nose,’ he said.

‘It’s pretty straightforward, it’s not daunting and it doesn’t make you nervous because it’s literally 30 seconds and then you’re on your way.’




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Achraf Hakimi's agent confirms defender will return to Real Madrid

‘We will return to Madrid’: Achraf Hakimi’s agent confirms defender will return to Spanish giants when his loan deal ends at Borussia Dortmund

  • Hakimi is entering the final months of his two-year loan spell at Dortmund
  • Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal have all been linked with the Real defender 
  • He faces battle with Dani Carvajal, Alvaro Odriozola and Nacho Fernandez

Achraf Hakimi’s agent has confirmed the defender will return to Real Madrid at the end of the season.  

Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal have all been linked with the Moroccan international, who is now entering the final months of his two-year loan spell at Borussia Dortmund. 

Achraf’s agent Alejandro Camano, when asked about an alleged approach from Italian club Inter Milan, told El Mundo Deportivo: ‘There is no such offer. We will return to Madrid.’ 

Achraf Hakimi’s agent has confirmed the defender will return to Real Madrid this summer

It is unclear where his future lies as his preferred position of right-back is already occupied by Dani Carvajal with Alvaro Odriozola and Nacho Fernandez as back up. 

‘My contract with Real Madrid? My agent deals with that it, I’m not very aware of that – I don’t know how much I have left,’ Achraf has told Cadena Ser.

‘It is still the same contract that I signed in 2017, there has been no change.’

Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal have all been linked with the Moroccan international

In March, a report in Diario AS said Madrid want Achraf back at the club for next season but are aware they would not be able to guarantee him first-team football.

‘Real Madrid are the club I call home,’ Hakimi told Telefoot, in quotes cited by Diario AS.

‘I’ve really enjoyed my time there and played lots of games there. If Real Madrid want me to go back, I’ll go back. And if not, I will need to write the next chapter at another great club.’




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Man United and Angel Gomes contract talks remain at 'standstill'

Manchester United and Angel Gomes contract talks remain at a ‘standstill’ with the two parties unable to reach an agreement and the 19-year-old can leave for free at the end of June

  • Contract talks between Manchester United and Angel Gomes are at a standstill 
  • The midfielder has been offered a new deal but has not reached an agreement 
  • The 19-year-old can leave for free at the end of June when his contract expires
  • The club remain hopeful they can convince the academy graduate to sign 

Manchester United are running out of time to negotiate a new contract with 19-year-old Angel Gomes who can leave the club for free in a matter of weeks.

The academy graduate is yet to put pen to paper on a new deal with talks at a standstill but United remain hopeful they can convince the midfielder to stay.

A contract has been put on the table but the two parties have been unable to reach an agreement so far and Goal report that discussions have stalled.

Manchester United are running out of time to negotiate a new contract with Angel Gomes

The 19-year-old is yet to put pen to paper on a new deal with talks are reportedly at a standstill

Gomes was first offered a new deal at the start of the season and improved contracts have been put forward since but a resolution has not been found. 

He was reportedly offered £25,000 a week to sign an extension but his representatives were thought to be concerned at his lack of game time.

Mason Greenwood and Brandon Williams have both been given chances in the first team and Gomes is desperate to follow in their footsteps. 

Gomes’ fellow academy graduate Tahith Chong (left) signed a new contract at United in March

However, fellow academy player Tahith Chong signed a new contract in March hope that would lead to Gomes agreeing fresh terms.

Chelsea have been linked with the midfielder but last month he suggested he wanted to stay at Old Trafford and go on to win trophies with the club.

‘I’ve seen it over the years, coming up from the academy and being at United my whole career,’ said Gomes during a Google Hangout on the club’s official website.

‘It’s what I want to go on to do – win trophies for the club.’

The youngster captained England under-19s to World Cup success in 2018.

The midfielder has previously stated his desire to remain at Old Trafford and to win trophies




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Conor McGregor reacts to Khabib Nurmagomedov’s withdrawal from UFC 249

Conor McGregor has labelled Khabib Nurmagomedov a 'chicken' after the Russian pulled out of a scheduled fight with Tony Ferguson.

The pair were due to face-off at UFC 249 on April 18 in New York, but the event has been blighted by the coronavirus outbreak.

Nurmagomedov was forced to withdraw after becoming stranded in his native Russia on lockdown, with the US shutting their borders in a bid to quell the pandemic.

It is the fifth occasion that a proposed bout between Nurmagomedov and Ferguson has collapsed, and McGregor was quick to aim a jibe at his long-term rival.

"The fact of this matter is, both Tony and Khabib where engaged in a game of chicken here towards the fight bell," McGregor wrote on Twitter. "With Khabib chickening out first. Making it 3-2 in pullouts in Tony’s favour.

"Khab scurried out of the U.S to home, and amid the crisis. Very high risk. Congrats Tony."

McGregor had been mooted as one of the name's to potentially step in to replace Nurmagomedov, after his trainer John Kavanagh dropped a hint on social media.

Kavanagh suggested McGregor was an option, but it is more likely that Justin Gaethje will be handed the Ferguson fight instead.

UFC president Dana White is still keen for the event to go ahead despite the rising threat of coronavirus in New York.

The New York Athletic State Commission have already ruled that the Barclays Center will not stage the fight, leaving White needing to arrange a new location.

White has been slammed this week by Tyson Fury's promoter Bob Arum for his negligence in pressing ahead with the event.

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