Michael Keane says it felt “brilliant” to return to contact training on Wednesday as Everton stepped up their preparations for the potential return of Premier League football.
Speaking in a live Q&A with Everton’s official Twitter account, the Blues defender outlined the protocols in place at USM Finch Farm and explained the measures ensure players and staff feel as safe as possible.
Everton returned to training last week for the first time since the coronavirus lockdown, with strict social distancing rules initially in place.
On Wednesday, Premier League clubs voted unanimously to pass “stage two” medical protocols, giving the go-ahead for a return to contact training, including tackling and aerial duels.
“[It was] brilliant to get back to some normality,” Keane said.
“Measures are still in place to ensure our safety. We are still social distancing as soon as the drills are finished.
“With the protocols we’ve got at the training ground, I think it’s one of the safest environments to be in.
“We’ve got a one-way system, we park three spaces apart, clean our own kit, bring our own drink bottles, we’ve got the constant use of sanitiser and the list goes on!
“It’s strange having to keep your distance but everybody has got used to it now.
“It’s just good to see everyone again and catch up after two months apart.”
Keane added there is one small benefit to maintaining some social distancing...
“At least it saved me having to remember the 20 different handshakes with every player!
“Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Tom Davies have some mad ones that must have taken them hours to come up with!”
Top-flight football in Germany returned on 16 May and Keane revealed he has taken the chance to watch some Bundesliga action on television.
He also gave his thoughts on the prospect of playing Premier League games behind closed doors.
The Premier League announced on Thursday evening that shareholders had agreed to a new provisional restart date for the 2019/20 season of Wednesday 17 June, provided that all safety requirements are in place.
“It’s going to be strange, the fans play a huge part both home and away," said Keane. "But hopefully it won’t affect us having a really strong end to the season.”