Adam Clayton: Middlesbrough midfielder believes players should have say over return

Adam Clayton
Middlesbrough are 19th in the Championship, pending the resumption of the season

Footballers should be allowed to choose whether it is right for them to return to playing, Middlesbrough midfielder Adam Clayton has said.

Clayton's father Steve spent 51 days in intensive care with Covid-19.

Football in England is currently suspended indefinitely because of the coronavirus pandemic.

"Ultimately I think it will end up with the players making the decision whether they feel right to do it or not," Clayton told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"They're talking about testing every day and I think a bit more will be said in the next couple of weeks.

"It's a real tough one. There's nobody who wants to be out on the pitch more than me - I've missed it like you wouldn't believe. It's what we have done since we were kids.

"I don't think the fear in football is the players contracting it ourselves, although it could still have damaging effects. It's more if I go to work and bring it back to my baby daughter or my dad, that's the worry I'd have."

Unlike the Premier League, which has 'Project Restart' in place, there is not presently a model for clubs in the English Football League to resume playing.

On Tuesday, it was reported that tackling will be banned, pitches disinfected and players restricted to groups of five when Premier League players do return to training.

'Doctors and nurses never gave up on him'

Clayton said seeing the video of his dad leaving intensive care at North Manchester General Hospital had "brought a tear to my eye".

At one point, the former Leeds and Huddersfield player had been told his father, who had underlying health problems, had a less than 50% chance of surviving.

"There were days where you thought you were going to get the worst news. Somehow he managed to stick in there and the doctors and nurses never gave up on him," he added.

The 31-year-old said not being able to see his mother because of self-isolating rules had made the experience even harder.

"I couldn't go round and give my mum a cuddle and she's only got my younger brother in the house so she's just been alone thinking about it all day, every day," he added.

"I've got a newborn so that's made it better for me because I've constantly had to attend to her but it's been murder for my mum.

"It's not a nice situation because you can't speak to them and you're just getting updates off the medical team and they can't bring you good news if it's not good news. It's really tough for the person whose loved one is in there."