Britain 'laughed' at Italy and 'underestimated' coronavirus, says former Juventus defender Ogbonna

Angelo Ogbonna West Ham
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The West Ham centre-back also feels Premier League players will need up to a month to regain full fitness before competitive football can resume

Italy international Angelo Ogbonna thinks Britain "underestimated" the impact of the coronavirus, and says they "laughed" at his home country before being hit by the full force of the pandemic.

West Ham defender Ogbonna is currently under lockdown in London with his family, with his wife expecting their second child.

The former Juventus centre-back said he was struggling to keep his full fitness amid strict restrictions on movement in Britain, and said his current country of residence had reacted too slowly to the Covid-19 outbreak.

He told Tuttomercatoweb: "Initially there was scepticism, the emergency was handled superficially. I think there was also an intention to try to protect the country economically after Brexit.

"They underestimated a very serious, global issue. Initially they laughed at Italy, they thought we were exaggerating the matter.

"I live in London, but I was immediately worried about us and my family in Italy. I have to tell you the truth, at least in London there was concern. Empty supermarkets, fewer people around. But London is not England."

Premier League football is suspended until at least April 30 following the outbreak, while some non-league and women's football divisions have already had their 2019-20 seasons voided.

Ogbonna said he was trying to keep to a training programme provided by West Ham manager David Moyes, but given the fact he and other top flight footballers cannot workout properly, he has suggested there might need to be as much as a month of 'pre-season' before competitive football can resume.

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The 31-year-old said: “We await future directions from the FA to understand what we will do. There are other priorities. Now that [British Prime Minister Boris] Johnson is positive for Covid-19 too, the concern has grown.

“We train from home. We have our guidelines, given by Moyes and his staff. We keep the club informed daily. The problem is that we live in an apartment. For some players, the accommodation is still temporary and, for ad-hoc preparation, it will take time.

“It’s right to think that we will need a month to get back in shape. The problem, however, is that you have no way of training how you would like.”