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Villa’s Smith hopes for no-quarantine deal with government


Aston Villa manager Dean Smith said he hopes an agreement will be in place with the government which will allow Premier League players to return to the country from international duty without having to quarantine in a hotel for 10 days.

Many Premier League clubs refused to release players headed to countries on the UK’s red list last month due to the strict COVID-19 quarantine rules they would have to adhere to on their return. Those who did missed the services of players when the league resumed after the break.

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Goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez is one of Aston Villa’s key players who has been called up by Argentina, which is on the red list.

“My understanding is the authorities and the government are working together to come up with a bespoke sporting agreement,” Smith told reporters on Friday.

“Players can go and play and we can actually bring them back and they can play in the game when they come back as well.

“But obviously, with the safety of everybody as paramount importance because we don’t want any more of this spreading around. So I’m hopeful that there will be an agreement in place.”

Villa, which moved up to eighth after back-to-back league wins against Everton and Manchester United, plays Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday. Spurs were top of the standings before losing three London derbies in a row to sit 11th.

“They have had an indifferent month but that can happen, they won their first three games without conceding a goal,” Smith said. “They have a very good squad and I have an awful lot of respect for Nuno (Espirito Santo).

“We are not firing on all cylinders yet, the players know that. There is still an awful lot that we can work towards.”



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