Leeds United back to school and good chance of passing test of nine more exams - David Prutton

THE PREMIER League is set to resume on June 17 and you would think that would have connotations on when Leeds United’s season resumes in the EFL Championship.
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It’s a bit like when the Bundesliga resumed in Germany, you are naturally having a look and seeing what happens, how it pans out and what happens on the other side of it restarting.

But having the headline of the Premier League restarting is grabbing everybody’s attention because we have spent so long operating in what ifs, maybes and possibilities.

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To have an actual date is a tremendous step in the right direction and it is something tangible to hold on to.

IT'S GOOD TO BE BACK: Leeds United captain Liam Cooper, above, relished the opportunity to finally train with his Whites team-mates this week. Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images.IT'S GOOD TO BE BACK: Leeds United captain Liam Cooper, above, relished the opportunity to finally train with his Whites team-mates this week. Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images.
IT'S GOOD TO BE BACK: Leeds United captain Liam Cooper, above, relished the opportunity to finally train with his Whites team-mates this week. Photo by Alex Pantling/Getty Images.

But there is also the tentative side of looking at the situation between now and then and the possibilities in both good and bad ways and just hoping it all comes to fruition.

Leeds returned to tailored training at Thorp Arch on Monday - training with social distancing essentially - and captain Liam Cooper said Monday’s return reminded him of the first day back at school and that’s exactly what it would have been like.

It’s the very nature of what a team sport is and why if you are lucky enough to play it, why you would gravitate towards it as a kid.

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There’s a camaraderie, a sense of community that you get from a shared experience and also that wonderful way of just being able to hang out.

The very fortunate ones get to do it and call it a ‘job’ and get paid for it which is fantastic.

It’s as ace as you could possibly imagine it to be.

For the returning players, there will have been a sense of novelty and joy about something that is seemingly new.

And hopefully that manifests itself when it comes to those players being on the pitch because we all know that the huge caveat with all this is that the games are going to be played without the most important people for the time being - the fans.

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But I think we all absolutely understand that whilst this is not ideal it is absolutely better than nothing if you are talking about watching football.

In terms of the prospects of the remaining Championship games being played, Charlton Athletic boss Lee Bowyer pointed to the expense and effort that has gone into even getting Championship players back into training and all of the testing.

He was saying it would all go to waste if the remaining games were not completed and I can see exactly what he is saying.

There’s that sense of slowly but surely getting there which is wonderful.

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We still cannot take any of this lightly and it would be curious if we got to a situation where it was suddenly a case of ‘nah, it’s not going to happen.’

But I am sure the EFL will explore everything to the far end of afar to make sure that whatever is needed and available and can be used and is available across the board will be used.

Ian Holloway was talking about the inability for Grimsby Town to fund all the testing and I am sure that as you work your way down through the footballing pyramid then it will be like that.

But what Lee Bowyer said seems to be pretty much spot on in that if the authorities have done this much already then they will carry on doing as much as they possibly can to get it sorted and games played.

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Bowyer speaks a lot of sense. He has gone into management off the back end of football and is very laconic with his delivery.

He’s not reserved but he takes his time and he’s very laid back but he has turned into a man that says what he thinks and seems to really care for his players.

As a manager, he is carrying a lot of gravitas and he is using that absolutely in the right way at this point in time.

Leeds basically returned to training on May 25 and there has been talk of the Championship returning on June 20 so that’s only just over a month.

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The ideal time that a manager would look for in pre-season is about six weeks.

We have seen teams not have that when they have been playing in different competitions and we have seen teams hit the ground running earlier than others and some that have a bit of burn out because of how they have approached it.

But I don’t think a month is completely insurmountable when it comes to getting yourself up and running, not at all. I just think it will take a different thought approach and it would be churlish of us for all these footballers to come back and for us to absolutely cane them for not being in the right shape.

It’s been tough for everyone involved in a relative nature but also in the sense that there is a certain level of fitness that Leeds wanted to uphold. Whether that has been doable on their own we will soon see but I think they will have a decent stab at it.

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This will have been the longest break that all of these footballers have ever had but these are very highly trained and highly paid professional athletes and it’s in their best interests to come back in the right shape, in the right form and with the right kind of set up.

Yes, there will be that element of match sharpness that is not quite there but we forgive them for that because we understand what the situation is and maybe just maybe it will be reflected in the brand of football that we see.

I will be intrigued to see how it goes.

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