Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta held a two-hour call with Los Angeles Rams head coach Sean McVay earlier this week to share ideas on training regimes amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Arteta instigated the conversation having heard of McVay’s reputation as a progressive and innovate NFL coach. Both teams are under the ownership of Kroenke Sports Enterprises, led by American businessman Stan Kroenke.
Arsenal technical director Edu was also on the call and the trio were joined briefly by head of football Raul Sanllehi as they discussed methods for maintaining fitness during COVID-19.
Players have been encouraged to follow individual programmes while in isolation and last week Arsenal opened up their London Colney training base to allow the first-team squad use of their 10 pitches to complete their work.
No more than five players were allowed on the site at any one time and each worked on their own pitch with separate footballs. However, with the Premier League aiming to return in mid-June, clubs are beginning to plan how group sessions will take place.
Arteta was keen to explore with McVay how NFL teams train in units with a view to implementing something similar with the Gunners. Virtual mini training-camps for NFL teams are due to start on May 11 with facilities not expected to be fully opened until July.
However, group training could return for Premier League teams in the next fortnight if a resumption is given the go-ahead, a decision which depends firstly on Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s address on Sunday at which he will revise lockdown measures and a Premier League shareholders’ meeting on Monday at which clubs are expected to vote on completing the 2019-20 season.
Group training will still have to comply with social distancing measures and in addition to Arteta’s discussions with McVay on how to structure sessions, Arsenal and the other English teams will look to Germany for guidance with the Bundesliga set to resume next weekend.
Training in Germany is largely taking place in groups of up to seven players. They are not allowed to tackle and are encouraged to change and shower at home before and after training rather than using any on-site facilities.
Arsenal held their first ever virtual fans’ forum on Wednesday, at which Sanllehi and managing director Vinai Venkatesham answered questions from a select group of supporters.
They reiterated the club’s desire to complete the season in some form and said that KSE were providing “financial support” to the club, but refused to elaborate on the details.
Arsenal are the only Premier League club to have agreed a 12.5% pay cut with their players but no non-playing staff have been furloughed and the club has made six-figure donations to local charities and organisations.