DECLAN RICE has warned football bosses rushing back the season back too quickly will wreak havoc for players.
The Premier League and EFL are desperate to get playing again after the Covid-19 lockdown to avoid financial meltdown and the government are hoping seasons can start again within weeks.
But England ace Rice says it could be carnage if the players across the country are asked to turn out in matches before they are physically ready.
The 21-year-old said: “If you are looking to go straight back into it, you’re going to look at so many injuries. That’s what clubs are saying
“You need at least three weeks of high intensity interval training to get yourself back in shape with the football.”
Rice admits it is getting hard to train at maximum intensity while on lockdown – even though he says the break has given him a relief from the pressure of West Ham’s fight to avoid relegation.
The midfielder, speaking on Sky’s Soccer AM, added: “It’s been tough because you are used to seeing your teammates, going out every day and doing the day to day things.
“To have that taken away from you is really tough.
“But on the other side of it, given the position we are in at West Ham it’s nice to not feel the pressure of going out and play for three points every week.
“It’s nice from that perspective not to have that stress.
“But really not only me but the whole of the Premier League want to get back to it now to be honest.
“Mentally it’s really, really tough training on your own.
“You’re going for a plod around the park, and obviously West Ham are sending me runs to do, some of them are really tough.
“Usually with the lads every day you have a bit of a craic and a bit of banter, but when you are on your own it’s mentally really tough just to run around and get it done.
“You get it done but’s it’s a long slap.”
Over the past two years Rice has emerged as one of the best young holding midfielders in the country having initially been thought of as a centre-back when he first broke into the Hammers team.
Chelsea and Manchester United have both been tracking his progress as a midfielder, although there could be a time when he switches back to the defensive position he made his own at the West Ham academy.
Rice said: “As a kid I was a centre-half or holding midfield. I was under-16 and played an under-18s game and the centre-halves weren’t fit. I just stepped back there.
“I never looked back from there at that point playing centre-back and I thought that was my career mapped up playing centre-half.
“It was only until I got into the first team when Slaven Bilic started to play me in midfield did I switch back there. Pellegrini kept me in as a midfielder and I’ve not looked back since.
“They are both different positions – centre-half you have got it all in front of you, you can see the game, you don’t have to check your shoulders when you get the ball.
“In midfield you have to have a picture all the time, you need to know your next pass and what is around you. They are both great positions and I would never rule out going back to centre-back one day.
“But the majority of the last two seasons I have played in midfield and that’s where I am.
“I’m a strong ball carrier, I like taking it forward and driving with it. A few of the lads say I can play eight easily, four is disciplined and that is my role right now.”