'Demoralising' - Exclusive: Pundit shares how Leeds stars feeling amid big update
Noel Whelan suggested the forced season break will have been an “eye-opener” for Leeds United players and will have given them a “small taste” of retired life.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, the ex-Elland Road striker admitted he “struggled” to adjust to life without teammates when he first retired, describing a football club as a second family.
Marcelo Bielsa’s side were one of the first clubs to act amid the Coronavirus pandemic. The club first told players to train in isolation from March 18.
Eight weeks on and the UK is still in lockdown but with ‘Project Restart’ taking shape the EFL has written to clubs to suggest a return to training on May 16.
Whelan claimed the players will be “overjoyed” to return to Thorp Arch.
“Being a former player I know how important it is to be in and around the group,” he told Football Insider.
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“It is like a second home, if not a first home to you. It is where you spend the majority of your time.
“That is where you get your joy from and I know when I finished playing football I struggled never having that again.
“They have had a small taste of what it is going to be like when they retire. Being at home, not being around teammates and not playing any football anymore. It will be an eye-opener and it can be demoralising mentally.
“They will be overjoyed when they meet up again. It will be like a reunion with your family. There will be a lot of big smiles.
“It is a massive part of their life.”
Leeds striker Patrick Bamford confirmed this date had been received by players.
Premier League sides such as Spurs and Arsenal have already opened their training grounds to allow select players to train on a rotational basis.
In other Leeds United news, club stand to lose £76million in potentially devastating blow.