West Ham have officially moved into contact training as of yesterday after Premier League shareholders voted unanimously to proceed into Stage Two of the Return to Training protocol.
Stage Two allows for clubs to be able to train as a full group and engage in tackling while minimizing unnecessary contact. Before Stage 2, West Ham were only allowed to have players train in small groups of no more than five people. Furthermore, training could not last for more than 75 minutes.
The news comes the same day four more positive cases across three clubs were confirmed by the league, bringing the total to 12 total positive cases out of 2,752 total tests (.4% positive rate). West Ham have remained free of confirmed Covid-19 cases thus far, although eight players reportedly showed symptoms in late March.
“The Club has gone above and beyond the Government and Premier League recommendations with a number of measures having been in place in preparation for when Rush Green re-opened, including a health screening and temperature check tent for players and staff upon arrival.
Vice-Chairman Karren Brady continues to be in regular contact with manager David Moyes, medical staff, coaches, captain Mark Noble and the players through conference calls to ensure the health and wellbeing of everyone at West Ham United.”
Three players who were injured for West Ham’s last match against Arsenal are injury-free as Andriy Yarmolenko, Jack Wilshere and Ryan Fredericks have all returned to training. Ben Johnson is also fully fit and training with the first team after his long injury lay off, a huge boost given Jeremy Ngakia’s latest contract news.
Three different groups of five have been spotted training together by the media thus far. Pablo Fornals, David Martin, Declan Rice, Carlos Sanchez, and Andriy Yarmolenko were the featured group on the club’s social media accounts while another group of Fabian Balbuena, Issa Diop, Ryan Fredericks, Darren Randolph and Robert Snodgrass was seen.
However, it seems David Moyes is mixing and matching his groups as Felipe Anderson, Jarrod Bowen, Mark Noble, Darren Randolph, and Tomas Soucek were seen training together later in the week.
While the Premier League is set to return June 17, West Ham’s first fixture since the 1-0 loss to Arsenal on March 7th is likely to fall between June 19-21.