I HAVE never been more conscious of my responsibility as captain to look out for the rest of the squad than right now.
We footballers are creatures of habit and live our lives by routine. I’ve been doing it for almost 19 years as a professional.
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But that reliance on scheduling is being truly tested by this coronavirus outbreak.
Matches are suspended until the end of April — at the earliest — and our plans at Bournemouth to return to training on Monday are likely to be postponed, too.
That leaves players to fend for themselves for a good while longer, which poses serious challenges.
It certainly does not feel like an international break or the end of the season, where you go on holiday and switch off for a few weeks.
If anything, it is the total opposite.
You have to stay fit, be alert to the news and be ready to be called in at any time.
Then there is the whole health-and-safety factor and difficulties of potential self-isolation.
The gaffer Eddie Howe has told me to talk to all the lads individually.
He wanted me to make sure they are staying on top of their fitness — which is more important now than ever.
They are all responsible and fully aware of the severity of the situation.
But I will help out with anything they need and hopefully meet up with them in the coming weeks, if possible.
The ones I will be keeping an eye out for most are the younger lads who are far away from friends and family.
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Take David Brooks, who has missed the whole campaign to date with an ankle injury sustained in pre-season.
He does have a girlfriend down here and recently got a dog, who is no doubt keeping him occupied!
But psychologically it may be tough for him as he was so close to making a comeback before all this madness began.
Brooksy was training with the first team and while the Crystal Palace game would have come too early, he would have likely been involved against Wolves this weekend.
Then the worry is that this break could hinder his progress because the longer without a match and the ability to train together, the more all of our levels of fitness will be impacted.
I hope he returns in the shape he was when I last saw him because we have nine massive games to save our season and he is one of our best players.
This lockdown also puts an extra pressure on relationships, particularly those who have not been together that long, as will be the case for many young players and their partners.
In all households, emotions will be intensified over the next few months because of being stuck inside together.
It is going to be tough keeping the kids entertained and not just let them run riot.
Fans who live for matchdays as a release from the stresses of daily life are going to have to go without football for a while.
I am a fan myself and have found myself flicking through the sports channels still half-expecting a game to be on.
Hopefully everyone can keep calm.
We must try to embrace this enforced extra time with our loved ones — and hope the sport we love returns as soon as it is safe to do so.
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