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Ings issues his verdict on returning to play

DANNY Ings insists he’s happy to pull on his Saints shirt whenever a return to action is given the green light.

Saints’ players returned to training this week after spending two months working out at home due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But the Government gave them the go-ahead to start getting themselves ready to play behind closed doors from next months.

Watford’s Troy Deeney has, understandably, been vocal about safety concerns and made it clear he won’t be returning to training to protect his family’s health.

“I’m happy to [return]”, Ings told the Daily Echo. “I wouldn’t have gone in for the small group training if I had any doubts.

“But I can understand where other players are coming from because everybody is different, and everybody works in a different way.

“We all have different reasons as to why we’d feel uncomfortable but that’s absolutely fine.

“But, for me personally, I feel OK coming back to train, as long as it’s a safe environment and the government are all OK with what’s going on with the protocols.”

Saints’ squad have been split into small groups of five, with Ings being partnered with defenders Jannik Vestergaard and Jan Bednarek, along with captain Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Stuart Armstrong.

This, he says, is a “hell of a team” and one that would be a tough five-a-side outfit to get past.

Manager Ralph Hasenhuttl previously told the Daily Echo that he plans to use this time as a ‘mini pre-season’ in order to get his side ready for their final nine games.

Although they’ve been following strict fitness plans from the comfort of their own homes, the players were met with several gruelling tests on their return to Staplewood.

Explaining what his first week back has been like, Ings reflected: “It is completely different and that’s for the right reasons because it’s an extremely difficult situation for everyone at the moment.

“The work the NHS workers and frontline staff have been doing is nothing short of exceptional.

“The Government gave us the green light to return to training and all the correct protocols are in place so it’s down to us to respect it all and do everything in the safest way possible.

“It’s been different, but we are getting some good work in.

“Having two months off, no matter how much running you do, isn’t the same as the ball work and the twisting and turning.

“With the heat we’ve had it’s made it even tougher but it’s good to be back at Staplewood and getting the work done.”

One element of being given the green light to train at Staplewood again that has put a smile on Saints’ striker’s face is that he’s been reunited with a handful of his teammates.

Although there has been a couple of comments flying about regarding the length of his hair – which isn’t that long – Ings is just buzzing to be back.

“There’s still banter but it’s mainly focused on the state of people’s hair!” the 27-year-old added.

“Some lads have just shaved it off but other lads, including me, have grown it out and I look as though I’m ageing by the day.

“It’s been typical back-to-training banter and if someone has a sloppy touch because they’ve been off for a couple of months then they will know about it.

“To be with the lads in a safe environment and getting the fitness and ball work in will help us further down the line if we resume playing.

“I say if because it’s all down to the Government and the safety of everyone which is something we all respect.”

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