Stoke City confirmed today that they were giving players individual training programmes to keep up their fitness away from Clayton Wood.
Can they be trusted?
Well, almost simultaneously, James McClean was posting on Instagram and looking particularly sweaty.
St Patrick’s Day or not, whether the manager is there to keep an eye on him or not, coming back from injury or not and fixtures on the horizon or not, the 30-year-old fitness freak is making the most of his home gym.
“5 min skip warm up,” he explained.
“8 250m concept ski 20 secs rest between reps.
“Assault bike x curve treadmill combo.
“25 calories bike, 4 min high intensity run x 6 constant no rest between.
McClean’s teammates must be hoping they get their own itineraries.
The Republic of Ireland was on the cusp of a comeback before the coronavirus crisis, having sped back from a medial ligament injury he suffered in February.
He has been a pivotal part in Stoke’s improving form under Michael O’Neill, with his aggression and energy raising the tempo.
Indeed, he has been hitting career highs in that regard.
His high intensity runs – that’s runs between 19.8km/h and 25.1km/h are up; as well as scoring four times and chipping in with three assists.
McClean said in an extensive recent interview with Off The Ball: “Billy (McKinlay) has got a nice little way of getting a reaction out of me. He’ll ask me something like… in the game the other day (against Swansea) with about 30 minutes to go he’s asked me, ‘Have you got enough in the tank to finish this game?’ and I was just like, you know!
“He’s not shouting and screaming at me. He said to me before the game, ‘You haven’t scored in a while have you?’ and I was thinking it’s only been four games since my last goal – so he was saying, ‘Are you happy with that?’.”
It was put to McClean that questioning his fitness is a red line and he added: “I think he knows that and that’s why he did it! But I was like, ‘Even though I know you’re joking, I’ll show you something… and we can have a laugh about it afterwards.’
“On Saturday I had my personal best in my career for high intensity running, or so they told me, but whether they’re just telling me that to get something more out of me I don’t know!
“I’m 30 now but I’ve always been good at running. I think I’ve got the frame and genetics – tall and skinny. I did athletics at school and I’m always mobile. I find a good relaxation in running, soothing if you’re having an issue. It calms me down.
“My wife will tell you that on a Saturday, win, lose or draw, we’ve got a gym at home and I start getting cold feet. I go out to the gym at 8 or 9 at night and have a work out.
“They tell me at the club that I need a new hobby, that I do too much training, but that is my hobby. I enjoy training. It’s two-fold. I enjoy doing the work out and it obviously benefits me in terms of adding more to my game.”