Everton right-back Seamus Coleman has revealed he felt incredibly safe upon his return to training, as he offered up an insight into the Toffees' first day back at Finch Farm.
Following on from the Premier League's decision to allow players to return to 'small-group training', Everton opened the doors to their training complex on Wednesday after nearly ten weeks away due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Speaking to EvertonTV after his first day back, Coleman confessed he was desperate to get back into the action, even though Finch Farm looked a little different to how he was used to.
“Even getting the kit ready on Tuesday night, you are excited to get back to work,” Coleman said. “It’s probably the longest I’ve been away from Finch Farm.
“Driving through [the gates] was a great feeling but it’s definitely a little bit different. The club has taken all the precautions needed. We were in in small groups and it felt very safe. They told us that would be the case but when you got there, you could see the work that has been put in to make it as safe as possible. It is serious, we have to do things properly. We are in there together and it is important we are living our lives right outside the place to make sure you do not endanger anyone.
“The ideal scenario is we get back playing Premier League football and to do that, as players, we need to make sure we are doing everything right. The club made sure of that by telling us the rules and regulations. We couldn’t wait to get on the training pitch and it was nice to see some of the lads again and get back out there training.
"It is up to us as players now to stick to the rules at the club and do what is asked of us. There are measurements to tell us how far to stay apart and a one-way system around the building, so you are not crossing paths with people. It feels as safe as it possibly can and, hopefully, we can move to phase two as quickly and safely as possible.”
Given it was just the first day back and players were required to observe social distancing regulations while working in small groups, Coleman feared training could have been awkward and fairly poor, but he admitted he was delighted to see just how much preparation the club's coaching staff had done for the situation.
“I was with Bainesy [Leighton Baines], Yerry [Mina] and Michael [Keane] and one of the other groups also had four defenders,” explained Coleman. “It wasn’t a very, very hard session, more easing us back in to make sure there were no injuries.
“There were passing drills and strides and dribbling circuits and we finished with playing out from the back. We had the manager, Davide [Ancelotti, assistant boss] and Duncan [Ferguson, assistant manager] for the football element.
“You can still get the work in, it was a very good session and we were in and out as quickly as possible. It was enjoyable and I was happy to get a ball at my feet again."