Charlie Taylor is ready to ramp up preparations for the return of the Premier League as he welcomes a move towards full training.
After more than a week of non-contact training built around fitness work in small ‘pods’ of players on separate pitches, clubs have now been given the all-clear to adopt stage two of the league’s ‘Return To Training Protocol’.
The implementation of the policy, following talks with government officials, players, management and representative bodies, means squads will now be able to train as a group and engage in tackling.
And with the Premier League moving towards setting a date for a resumption of the fixture list, Taylor sees the latest development as a key phase towards playing again.
“Hopefully it means a bit less running for us!” said the Clarets’ defender.
“We have done a bit of ball-work but it’s strange with so many rules and protocols.
“To get back to bigger groups and play some actual football will be nice.
“Just being in and around the lads and mixing. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen everyone, so that will be good as well.
“I think everyone is looking forward to it and glad that things are going in the right direction.
“I think this was the important one. From our point of view, we’ve always been right behind it.
“It’s a big step and hopefully the season can re-start again in a few weeks.”
The Clarets returned to their Barnfield training ground on 19 May following a first round of testing for the Covid-19 virus and have since had two further sets of test results in line with the rest of the Premier League.
The players were restricted to working in the same groups during phase one of the protocol with Taylor in a ‘pod’ alongside Ashley Westwood, Jeff Hendrick, Robbie Brady and skipper Ben Mee.
And Taylor believes the regime they have been following will have them ready to hit the ground running when a resumption of the league programme is given the go-ahead.
“It’s a good group, a good fit group, so there’s no hiding when it comes to the running. We’ve cracked on and had a really good week’s work,” added the left-back.
“It’s been very tough. I think all the lads have said the same.
“It’s going to stand us in good stead. All being well, the season is going to come back round thick and fast when it does with a lot of games coming in a short period of time.
“We’ve got a small window to work in and the gaffer is really working us hard.
“He and the sports science staff know what they’re doing. We might only have two or three weeks to get fit so we’ve got to put the hard work in now and if it gives us a one per cent advantage it will stand us in better stead that some other teams.”
Details on how the rest of the season – which will involve a total of 92 matches – will be structured are expected to be announced soon, with a start and finish date and how many mid-week games will be played.
For the first time, English football will take place through the summer months but Taylor is not complaining as the Clarets try and chase a top-10 finish in the Premier League for only the second time.
“You would never think you’d be in at this time of year doing running every day,” Taylor told Clarets Player HD.
“Things are different but everyone has really knuckled down where we are and everyone has got their mind on it, focused on what we need to do and just making the best situation of what’s currently happening in the world.
“We are desperate to play and hopefully it will be a huge boost to everyone.
“We’ve got nine games left and we’re just desperate to crack on and get the season finished and see how far we can get and how high up the league we can go.
“Before the lockdown we were on a great run and there’s no reason why we can’t carry that on.”