Adrian Mariappa reveals he is Watford player who tested positive for Covid-19
The 33-year-old was one of six positive results from the first round of Premier League testing this week as the top flight takes steps towards a resumption.
Mariappa told the Telegraph: “Ever since I got my positive result back on Tuesday, I’ve been scratching my head to try to work out how I might have got coronavirus.
“It was a big surprise because I haven’t really left the house, apart from some exercise and the odd walk with the kids. I’ve mainly just been homeschooling and keeping fit.
“The club doctor called to tell me and, to be honest, I did ask whether it could be 100 per cent accurate or whether my results could have got muddled up. Maybe if I had been displaying any symptoms then it might have made sense. But in my head it wasn’t adding up.
“I’ve not had any symptoms and I’ve felt as fit as ever, probably fitter because I’ve been working really hard. I’ve been following my training programme and I’ve not felt out of breath or ill, or anything.
“We’ve been fully monitored the whole time and the club have been able to track our distances and things.
“I’ve been really excelling in all of that. It’s quite scary how you can feel absolutely fine and not really have left the house, and yet still get the virus.
“If it wasn’t for the fact I had gone back to training and had this test, then I’d never have found out that I had the virus and I would just be getting on with things as normal. That’s obviously quite a strange thought.”
But the Jamaica international was disappointed the results have ended up revealing his identity.
“I’d have preferred if everything had been kept private,” said Mariappa.
“But once Watford’s name came out then my phone went mad with people asking who it was and I’m sure it was the same for all of the rest of the staff and players.
“For your family, you’d rather keep it to yourself, but, unfortunately, that hasn’t been possible. It’s disappointing that rumours started, but I will just get on with things now and follow the protocols.”
Watford captain Troy Deeney has already said he would not return to training to protect the health of his family, with the club posting pictures of some of the squad back at the training ground on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder has called the results of the coronavirus tests “encouraging” as players return to non-contact training this week.
Speaking on Sky Sports, Wilder said: “A lot of people have been tested and the signs are encouraging.
“Testing has been very thorough. A lot of hard work has gone into to make sure this runs as smoothly as possible.
“It is baby steps in the process of returning to full training.”
The Premier League is continuing to target a return to action next month. Although there is a limited window for training to get up to full speed, Wilder said players were not starting from scratch as they would in a regular pre-season.
“When we paused the season, these players have an obligation to their profession to keep themselves right so straight away, the programmes they were given, they weren’t off to Dubai or Vegas eating and drinking whatever they want,” Wilder said.
“They’ve got a professionalism about them and my players are in absolutely brilliant condition.
“We’ve tested them right the way through. They’ve got individual programmes. They didn’t know when this was going to kick-start and they had to be ready.”
The Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga will also hold a minute of silence in their next two matchdays to remember the victims of coronavirus and also support those fighting the battle against it.
The divisions returned over the weekend after being halted in March.