I will respect any player who does not want to play if Premier League returns – Wilder

The Sheffield United boss believes his own side are keen to get back on the pitch, but not every player has been so enthusiastic

Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder says he will respect the wishes of any player who doesn’t feel comfortable returning to football amid the coronavirus pandemic.

With the Bundesliga set to return on May 16 and the Turkish Super Lig ready to follow suit in June, it seems increasingly likely that the Premier League’s ‘Project Restart’ will eventually come to fruition with a return to match action.

Players have seemingly been divided as to their own opinion on the matter.

Plenty have spoken about their desire to get back onto the pitch but Sergio Aguero apparently spoke for many when he outlined concerns he has for both his own safety and that of his young family.

“If any individual players, took that decision and come to me saying it’s not for me I would respect that,” Wilder told BeIN Sports.

The Blades are flying high in seventh in the table and Wilder says his players are keen to finish the season – but not due to their own impressive campaign to date.

“Speaking to the players, speaking to the captain of the football club, not because of the position that we are in, [they want to continue the season].

“One of the slightly disappointing things is that people have taken a line based on their position in the division, which I think is a little disappointing.”

It has been reported that a number of clubs lessened their opposition to plans to resume the season, in the event that relegation from the division would be taken off the table.

Norwich, Aston Villa and Bournemouth currently occupy the bottom three but Watford, West Ham and Brighton are all within two points of the drop zone.

Relegation would doubtless bring a heavy financial burden on clubs already suffering during the coronavirus crisis, but the same can already be said of numerous teams further down the divisions.

“We’ve got to look at the bigger picture,” Wilder said of the financial implications of the crisis.

“I have had an experience of working in all levels of football, and I do understand the implications of the Premier League restarting, and the effect that would have down the pyramid as well.”