Football

Watford captain Troy Deeney says his family were abused online after decision to not return to training

Watford captain Troy Deeney said his family have suffered personal and online abuse, after his decision not to return to training last week.

Deeney, 31, has declined to take part in the resumption of training, after the stoppage due to the Covid-19 pandemic, citing his son's breathing difficulties.

"In a time where it's all about mental health and everyone says: 'Speak up, speak out, please speak,'… For example, (Newcastle United's) Danny Rose spoke out, I spoke out and we just get absolutely hammered and battered for it," Deeney said in an interview with CNN Sport.

"It's not just us that get it. My missus gets direct messages and you'll be walking down the street and people will be like: 'Oh, I'm at work, you go back to work'.

"My concerns were purely for family reasons. I have a five-month-old son who's got breathing difficulties... I needed more questions answered."

Meanwhile, Aston Villa have said manager Dean Smith's father Ron has died from Covid-19.

"The Aston Villa Family are saddened to announce that Ron Smith... has passed away at the age of 79," the club said in a statement.

"Ron, who had recently been living in a care home after being diagnosed with dementia six years ago, contracted coronavirus four weeks ago and, after a short spell, in hospital passed away with his family at his side.

"A lifelong supporter, Ron was a steward at Villa Park for many years and passed on his love of the club down to his children."

The United Kingdom has recorded more than 267,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19, with over 37,000 people losing their lives.

Last month, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola lost his mother after she was diagnosed with the novel coronavirus. She died in Barcelona aged 82. - REUTERS

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