True Shrewsbury Town professionals will stay fit during Covid-19 crisis – Bernard McNally
Shrewsbury legend Bernard McNally believes Sam Ricketts can learn about his players’ attitudes during the coronavirus-enforced absence.
The former Northern Ireland midfielder says professional footballers will be able to keep a base level of fitness despite spending their time isolating away from the Sundorne training ground.
Shrewsbury-born McNally, who made more than 300 appearances for Town throughout the 1980s, admitted it would be a ‘problem’ if players reported back out of shape after the pandemic.
“You’re not going to keep match sharpness but you can, as a modern-day professional, keep to a level of fitness. That is by pushing yourself,” said McNally.
“Now that shows you’ve got the attitude and willingness to do it. That’ll be an interesting thing.
“If players are lazy and put on a stone then that’s a major problem. The majority of players we see are usually very professional and they’ll know they’ve got to keep themselves as fit as possible. And that means doing it on your own.”
Hometown Shrews hero McNally offered consolation to Ricketts’ players during unprecedented times.
But McNally, a former AFC Telford United boss and Shrewsbury youth coach, explained that players will know their own fitness levels.
He added: “It must be difficult for players because this is unprecedented.
“As I got older and we had six weeks off (in the summer) I knew I could only take two weeks off.
“I got more savvy and knew I had to keep my fitness levels up and players that are real professionals will know that.”
Earlier this week, Shrewsbury uploaded a video to social media showing fitness coach Andy Johnson challenging the first team to a 5km run.
Wigan loan forward Callum Lang was quickest to complete the distance – beating Scott Golbourne by a second – in a time of 18 minutes and 27 seconds.
Youngster Ryan Barnett, on loan at AFC Telford, posted the third-fastest time of 19m 14s.
Ricketts has explained that his players have been handed fitness programmes to adhere to during the lockdown.
The Premier League and EFL have currently cancelled all fixtures until at least April 30 due to the global pandemic.