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Sport Former Premier League winger glad to be in lockdown in Australia

02:52  23 may  2020
02:52  23 may  2020 Source:   theage.com.au

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Melbourne City's English winger Craig Noone is finding it chillier than he hoped for - but he's happy to be here. Craig Noone has known plenty of cold weather in his life: spending your career as a professional footballer, including a period in the English Premier League , means cool conditions are

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Craig Noone of Melbourne City celebrates after scoring a goal during the round 15 A-League match between Melbourne City and the Newcastle Jets in January, 2020 © Mike Owen/Getty Image Craig Noone of Melbourne City celebrates after scoring a goal during the round 15 A-League match between Melbourne City and the Newcastle Jets in January, 2020 Craig Noone has known plenty of cold weather in his life: spending your career as a professional footballer, including a period in the English Premier League, means cool conditions are part of the job description.

Plunging temperatures were, however, not what he expected when he came to Australia to play for Melbourne City this season.

But the coronavirus lockdown and the need to keep fit and in trim when the A-League restarts - probably in late July - means he has had to stay in a Melbourne autumn and winter much longer than he had planned, rather than jet off to warmer climes in Europe during the off-season.

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Australia . Premier League ramps up plans to allow teams to return to Watford are still confident they CAN take to the pitch in Kante was among a number of players throughout the Premier League to skip small group training on Wednesday, which for many clubs was the first session back.

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Still, the Liverpool-born and raised winger is grateful that the cooler temperatures and grey skies are all he has to be concerned about.

With a huge death toll from the coronavirus in the UK and a noisy blame game going on between PM Boris Johnson and his government and their critics over their handling of the pandemic, Noone is happy to be in Australia.

''There's a lot of uncertainty there at the moment and it's never really crossed my mind about going home. It's a lot worse back in England,'' he said.

''My family is okay. We get to speak on Facetime quite a bit and everyone is okay over there. Me and my fiance (Rachel) are out here at the moment and we are making the best of the situation.

''We have been hiking around different places, following the trails, going on a few bike rides, we have also ventured out towards Hepburn ... and took the bikes up there. It's been really nice.

''But I am really surprised at how cold it is in the mornings. We were saying to each other that this is basically like being back home. You don't think Australia is going to be like that.''

Pictures: A-League champions and premiers over the years

Sydney FC won the inaugural A-League championship after beating the Central Coast Mariners 1-0.

Noone, like every other A-League player, is trying to stay in shape during the lockdown and is confident that he and his City teammates will be able to hit the ground running when the competition resumes.

''We have been given a schedule by the club to follow to make sure we are in the right condition to restart training,'' he said.

''But it's quite difficult. It normally involves some bodyweight, leg exercises and upper body exercises, some core work to start off with and then it will include a running or cardio session on a bike or a run round the park.

''It's all structured. Some of it is quite hard, it's harder than being in training.

''But I think I will be in good shape to be honest. We have got an honest bunch of lads who will be sticking to the programs and working hard. Once we get back training it will just be a question of match fitness and getting touches of the ball and training together and having a kick-about.''

City has only three matches left and Noone concedes that with Sydney well clear at the top of the table the Melbourne club is really targeting the runner-up slot.

''Finishing second is our aim,'' he said. ''It will be very difficult to catch Sydney but we will be focused on the championship and the finals.

''We have had a good season. It was disappointing to lose in the FFA Cup final (where City were easily beaten by Adelaide United) but to get there was excellent and to be in and around the top two for the majority of the season means we have done well.

'But it's not over yet, and hopefully once we resume we can make it a more enjoyable and rewarding season with a trophy at the end of it.''

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Premier League clubs vote to resume contact training .
Premier League clubs voted unanimously on Wednesday to resume contact training as "Project Restart" took a huge step forwards. "Premier League shareholders today voted unanimously to resume contact training, marking another step towards restarting the Premier League season, when safe to do so," the league said in a statement.

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