Sheffield United: Oliver Norwood says Blades are 'ready to play now'

Sheffield United midfielder Oliver Norwood
Norwood's Sheffield United side are seventh in the Premier League with 10 games remaining

Sheffield United midfielder Oliver Norwood says fitness is not a concern for the Blades as they prepare for the Premier League to restart.

United will be one of the first teams to return to action, when they play Aston Villa on Wednesday 17 June.

That will be 100 days since the Premier League was suspended, and squads only resumed contact training on Thursday.

But Norwood told BBC Radio 5 live: "If you told us we were playing this weekend, I think we would be ready."

The four top-flight teams with a game in hand - including the Blades - are the first to play again after the break because of the coronavirus pandemic, before a full round of fixtures takes place on the weekend of 19-21 June.

All matches will take place behind closed doors and teams are set to play twice a week, with a view to completing the league season by Saturday, 25 July.

There are concerns about players' fitness ahead of such an intensive programme and whether they will be more injury prone after their hiatus, but Norwood says he and his team-mates are in good shape.

"We have done all the running that we would do pre-season, albeit away from the training ground," Norwood said in an interview with BBC Radio 5 live's The Friday Football Social.

"We have done a test that we do first day back of pre-season, and everyone has bettered their times, so we are obviously doing something right.

"We are fit - it is just a case now of getting out there in these next couple of weeks. We will be playing 11 v 11 [in training] and building up to game mode."

Sheffield United are seventh in the Premier League, two points behind fifth-placed Manchester United.

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