‘Age is age’ – Hodgson has ‘no concerns’ over Premier League return despite coronavirus advice for over-70s

The Crystal Palace manager is 72, with official guidance stating anybody over 70 is at increased risk of developing severe illness from Covid-19

Roy Hodgson says he has “no concerns” about returning to work amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Crystal Palace manager is 72, the oldest man ever to manage in the Premier League.

Official guidance from the UK government says anybody aged 70 or over is particularly at risk of serious illness from Covid-19, regardless of other medical conditions, and should be “particularly stringent” about following social distancing guidelines.

The Premier League is still working on ‘Project Restart’ as English football looks to find a way to resume play.

Asked by beIN Sports if he would be able to return to work if play does go ahead, Hodgson replied: “Yes. No concerns. Age is age.

“It’s how you feel really. Your age doesn’t necessarily relate to your fitness or how you’re feeling, or your capacity to do a job.”

Hodgson also added that he had used the coronavirus-enforced break to work on his fitness, and that he was looking forward to getting back to work.

“So I have no qualms whatsoever,” he added.

“When I’m called back to work, I shall be very happy to go back to work.”

Despite clubs’ general eagerness to get the campaign back underway, there are still numerous issues to be solved and there remain significant concerns about player safety.

A number of Premier League stars have voiced anxieties about returning to play while the UK continues to post some of the worst coronavirus death tolls in the world.

Sergio Aguero said players are scared for the safety of their families, while Manchester City team-mate Raheem Sterling admitted to being anxious about “the worst outcome”.

Danny Rose, meanwhile, labelled the Premier League’s plans as “b*llocks”.

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Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder says he would respect the wishes of any player who didn’t feel comfortable playing, and Hodgson says he and chairman Steve Parish would also respect players’ concerns if any said likewise.

“This is going to be a matter for the individual and a matter for the club at the end of the day,” Hodgson said.

“I would be very surprised, knowing my club and Steve Parish as I do, that he would not be sympathetic to a player that came and said: ‘Look, I have serious reservations about playing’.”

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