James Chester is a Stoke City player who has been vocal about his concerns and hopes in isolation amid the coronavirus crisis.
As part of a column, the Aston Villa loanee has revealed how he is playing his part in supporting the NHS.
With Chester temporarily making the move from Birmingham to Stoke, his old property in England’s second city has been left empty – but not for long.
The Welsh international has donated his vacant flat to a scheme to help NHS staff.
NHS Homes is managing vacant – but owned – properties on behalf of people who sign up to the scheme, and offering those properties to NHS staff for a small fee to help cover cleaning costs.
“At the moment my Birmingham flat is empty, but this week I put it on a scheme for NHS staff. NHS Homes, it’s called. I only heard about it in the last few days. If doctors or nurses in the area need a place to stay, it’s there,” said Chester in his column for The Athletic.
But how is his own isolation in Cheshire going? Chester is keeping himself busy – and committing to the training plan forwarded to him by Stoke coaches – although they are currently in the dark about where the season stands.
“Here in Lymm I’ve continued my lockdown DIY by building a new piece of garden furniture, some seating and a little table. I’ve been enjoying the fruits of my labour in the sunshine and my lad Henri has been climbing all over it.
“As far as more strenuous work is concerned, I am carrying on with the training routine Stoke have outlined. But there is talk of that slowing down a little bit because the season doesn’t look like its going to start any time soon.”
Players such as Chester aren’t totally clear about where they stand in the football calendar, and the word is that this period is now being treated as the ‘holiday’ between seasons, with next season being tacked onto the end of the current one.
Rick Parry, the EFL chairman, wrote to clubs to outline a return to training no earlier than May 16 and I’ve heard this period now may be our annual “holiday”. Then if the rest of the season finishes, it’s a short break and into the next campaign.”