Neil Warnock has called for footballers to be more ‘responsible’ and set a better example for supporters after four Arsenal stars were caught ignoring the UK government’s coronavirus lockdown rules this week.
Nicolas Pepe, 24, was pictured enjoying a casual kickabout with friends at a park in north London, while fellow forward Alexandre Lacazette, 28, was spotted chatting to a car valeter on the driveway outside his home.
Experienced pair David Luiz, 33, and Granit Xhaka, 27, meanwhile, were seen meeting up in Southgate.
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In response to The Sun‘s story, Arsenal confirmed that they intend to reach out to all their players to hammer home the importance of following the guidelines.
‘Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We’ll be speaking to our players,’ a Gunners spokesperson said.
‘We were concerned so we have spoken to Nicolas who shares a house with a number of relatives who were involved in this game.
‘We have reminded him of the importance of everyone following the guidelines.’
Earlier this month, Tottenham head coach Jose Mourinho found himself in hot water after ignoring the government’s measures to hold a makeshift training session at a park in Barnet.
The Portuguese apologised for his actions but Spurs faced yet more criticism this week after Serge Aurier and Moussa Sissoko filmed themselves training together despite the restrictions.
Discussing the breaches on talkSPORT, Warnock urged footballers to start taking the guidelines more seriously and criticised Arsenal’s players for failing to learn from the mistakes of their north London rivals.
‘They’ve got to be responsible, haven’t they?’ the former Crystal Palace and QPR manager said.
‘Already a few weeks ago there was something like this with the Tottenham players in the park, so you would have thought everybody would have learned by now.
‘We’re talking life or death here; I don’t think people realise. It is everywhere and you’ve just got to be so careful.’
Warnock continued: ‘It’s just horrendous when the end of your days come in these circumstances.
‘When I looked the other day and there was a three-year-old dying and the parents weren’t allowed in, I just don’t know what’s happening.
‘It’s absolutely frightening and that’s why we’ve got to adhere to what they are saying.
‘Like the Arsenal lads – there’s no need to get publicity like that.’
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