Coronavirus: Newcastle club doctor Paul Catterson opens up on players’ return to training

Newcastle club doctor Paul Catterson opened up to Sky Sports News about the “surreal” return to training and how the players are feeling about the Premier League’s resumption.

Steve Bruce’s side began phase one of training on Tuesday, which sees players work in small groups while following social distancing guidelines.

Contact training will be the next stage, while the Premier League remains flexible on the proposed return date of June 12.

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Catterson admits there are nerves within the camp about how a matchday might play out, but he also spoke of the relief after all players and staff at Newcastle tested negative after the first round of coronavirus testing.

“There was a general relief when everyone found that out. We have got to rule against complacency and remain vigilant in all of this to keep that good work going,” he said.

“It just takes one or two results coming out to cause a bit of worry in the group.

“Different players have different worries about it so it’s about trying to reassure them and show them that we are trying to be as safe as possible.

“There’s a little bit of excitement [at training] because it looks like we are on the right track and football will hopefully be restarting again.

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“Each phase is bringing new challenges and we are trying to pre-empt what some of those might be.

“There’s a nervousness around what the games might look like but also about our travel and accommodation.

“There’s so many different facets to think about but, although it’s a challenge, they are good challenges now.”

For Catterson, the two-month hiatus has posed challenges to his own role, with the club doctor forced to keep in touch with the players via an app, Orreco, to track their health and keep a close eye on sleep and nutrition.

Catterson said it has proved to be a “surreal” scenario, but he praised the players for their adaptability and willingness to keep in shape during lockdown.

Back to business ✌️ pic.twitter.com/xJWyQscwDA

“It has been surreal times but I am amazed by the players and they have certainly come back in a great mood,” he added. “They are just relieved to get back on the grass and not be running on the treadmill.

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