Watford defender Adrian Mariappa has revealed his shock at testing positive for the coronavirus.
The 33-year-old insisted he is baffled as to how he contracted it saying: “Ever since I got my positive result back on Tuesday, I’ve been scratching my head to try to work out how I might have got coronavirus.
“It was a big surprise because I haven’t really left the house, apart from some exercise and the odd walk with the kids. I’ve mainly just been homeschooling and keeping fit.
“My lifestyle is very quiet, certainly no parties or going out or anything, so I really don’t know how I got it.
“Like most people, we’ve been having more deliveries of food and things, so maybe that’s one way and my partner has been to the supermarket a few times.”
While Mariappa is now quarantining for seven days, boss Nigel Pearson insists he is fully behind his squad after four players joined captain Troy Deeney in exercising their right not to attend non-contact training.
Pearson said: “I have spoken to players who have chosen at the moment that that is their stance and we abide with what we have already said to them and we respect their decision.
“One of the key factors in this is there are still a few unanswered questions and why ever there is an element of doubt and players feel that there are too many question marks then we respect their decision.”
Premier League officials insist games will only be played again when it is “safe and appropriate”.
Pearson added: “Our aim as a football club is to protect our own players and make sure we do what we can to prepare them for what the next stage is, whatever that is.”
Two members of Watford’s staff also contracted the virus after widespread testing across the top flight on Sunday and Monday at their bases.
In total six positive cases were confirmed (0.8 per cent) from a total of 748 tests. Burnley revealed on Tuesday evening that assistant boss Ian Woan has tested positive but, until Wednesday, the player at Watford had been anonymous.
The Hornets want the Premier League to provide some reassurance and ‘science’ to allay the fears of the players that joined captain Troy Deeney in declining to turn up for non-contact training yesterday [Wednesday].
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But the Premier League position is that it is down to the clubs to agree performance and fitness programs, given that they all signed off on Phase One of the Return To Training protocols.
Watford are relaxed over their no-shows, feeling that Phase One does not require players to do anything at the training ground that they could not do at home.
They are continuing to provide support for all their staff, including the individuals forced to self-isolate.