Premier League - The Big Interview with Paul HeckingbottomSep 21
The coronavirus pandemic has seen life turned upside down for millions of people around the globe - and professional footballers are no exception.
In a new series lifting the lid on how Premier League stars are spending their time during lockdown, BT Sport joined a video call with Burnley midfielder Ashley Westwood to discuss how he is finding time in isolation.
The Clarets have been back in socially distanced training for a week now as part of the Premier League’s Project Restart and Westwood is looking forward to getting back to normal training as soon as possible.
How have you been getting your football fix?
Ashley Westwood: “I was doing my hour a day of running and keeping the fitness up [before we went back to training].
“But fortunately we’ve got an astro turf pitch in the garden and I’ve got a little lad so we’ve been constantly kicking the ball in the goals, he’s been whacking it at me so I’m not bad in goal now!”
Have you been watching the Bundesliga?
“Yes, the minute football was announced back I was all over it. I saw Bayern v Dortmund the other night, thought it was a good game.
“It’s different – you don’t get the atmosphere. But you saw the emotion of the Munich players and that showed what the win meant for them.
“[As Premier League footballers] We’ve got a duty to entertain the public when it’s back and play in the right way.”
What TV series have you been watching?
“We’ve finished Ozark and we saw the new Brassic series with Michelle Keegan – that’s set up north so it’s good!
“Then we watched White Lines which was very good. But because it’s set in Ibiza it’s hard to watch when you’re stuck in lockdown!”
What’s the place you most want to get to after lockdown is over?
“Probably Spain, we go to the Costa del Sol most years so that’s the one place I’m missing at the minute.”
Any Zoom quizzes with team-mates?
“Not with team-mates but we did a family one. We did a Mr and Mrs quiz that caused some arguments. I don’t think the wife spoke to me for two days after that!”
Have you spoken to Sean Dyche?
“We had a few Zoom chats during the start of lockdown and he was keeping us updated.
“The staff are in constant contact and the squad have been sharing WhatsApp messages so we’ve all kept in touch.”
Any new hobbies?
“No new skills but I’ve always been a keen gardener! So I’ve planted some hedging, I’ve built the wife a compost heap and I’ve built the kids a sand pit with some left over timber.
“I’ve really enjoyed lockdown - I’ve been one of those that are keeping busy!
Your wife must be pleased?
“Yes... but I think she’s ready for me to go back to work now!”
What bits of training did you miss before you started up again?
“Just being with the lads in and around the changing room, the craic and the buzz you have.
“We have small games on the Friday during the season with three teams and the losing team does a forfeit so I’ve missed that competitive edge.”
What are the forfeits?
“There’s a few! [laughs] We have to be careful before a game.
“Sometimes it’s dance-offs, the boys hate that one so they’re always flying into challenges. It’s up there with the games themselves [in terms of competitiveness]!”
What will you miss about lockdown?
“Home schooling with the kids and seeing them develop even in seven weeks has been amazing.
“Seeing the little girl – in reception class – and her reading and writing coming on, I’ll miss that, seeing them every day and doing the reading and maths work.
“I do the maths with my little boy and then I swap over and do the maths with my little girl. The wife does the English - I’m not as good with that. We’ve had a good little team going.”
What’s training been like?
“It’s been different, constant reminders about keeping your distance. We’ve had our own little lanes to run in for ourselves so it’s been hard but it’s been fun to see the other lads.
“Hopefully we aren’t too far away now from getting back to normal.”
Which three team-mates would you choose to lock down with?
“[Ashley] Barnes for definite! He’s my best bud. Then I’d pick Chaz [Charlie Taylor]. He’s just funny - I could sit and watch him all day and he doesn’t know he’s being funny!
“And Jeff [Hendrick] – he’s a great cook who looks after himself. He can do all the cooking.”
And... who would you least want to lock down with?
“There’s not one who would drive me crazy but Robbie [Brady] wouldn’t be good. He’s non-stop, he’s always on the go, always telling stories and jokes.
“In a way he’d be brilliant but when you want to just chill out he’d be non-stop talking!”
Has there been talk of planning any socially-distanced goal celebrations?
“No, no talk of it. But the group I’m in has Ben Mee, Chaz, Robbie, Jeff and me so there’s not many goals between us! We’ll leave that to the other boys!”