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17th Mar 2020

The best (but mostly worst) footballers to self-isolate with

Kyle Picknell

With the world on lockdown, unless you’re Mason Mount apparently, it is time to weigh up whether we’d rather be quarantined with a Troy Deeney or a Pepe Reina. A Jamie Vardy or a David Luiz

Imagine him. Michael Owen. Sat at home now, alone with nothing but his mind-numbingly dull thoughts, refusing to stick on a DVD or Netflix because he’s still convinced ‘he doesn’t like films’. That must be tough. That must be a brutal existence, at the moment. Being Michael Owen. That must be a hell of a struggle, simply living as Michael Owen.

With that in mind, though, which current footballers would you actually want to hunker down with for the foreseeable future? Who’d be a laugh? I’d give it roughly two hours before Diego Costa started chasing you round with a fork and steak knife asking for just “a tiny bit of thigh, please mate, please” despite the cupboards being full of pasta, but on the other hand, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain seems to be having fun dancing up some steps with his girlfriend. Could go either way, couldn’t it? Here’s who’d y0u would survive with, and who you’d have to lock in the shed until this whole pandemic is over.

Pepe Reina

Pepe Reina has, in his relatively short Aston Villa career to date, suffered from complete and sudden headloss on two separate occasions – against Southampton and Leicester – which both resulted in an opponent scoring an open goal from ridiculously far out. Given this newfound propensity to sprint directly towards the danger with little regard for his own wellbeing or the benefit of his actions for his teammates, it seems unlikely that quarantining with Pepe Reina would be a good idea. Sure, there’d be as much paella and tapas as you could eat and sure, you’d get a lovely rendition of La Bamba every evening, but you would wake up one morning, look out the window, and find Pepe Reina stripped down to his boxers sprinting towards the nearest general hospital to lick all the railings. He won’t be able to explain why, either. This is just what he does now. He’s 90% the Liverpool Reina that we all know and love and cherish as a reliable goalkeeper, but he is also 10% pure chaos. Perfect for Villa, but not for two weeks in isolation. And when I say perfect for Villa, what I really mean is completely unsuitable in almost every way, shape and form.

Troy Deeney

You told Troy Deeney that stockpiling grocery items such as toilet roll and hand sanitiser and pasta is fucking stupid, and has the opposite effect of that desired, essentially leaving all the supermarket shelves empty for those that actually need those goods whilst you’re left with mountains of Andrex you really have no use for, but he didn’t listen. Troy Deeney went down to the big Sainsbury’s (AKA big Sainos) and came home with the entire contents of the shop. “Troy, mate, I know this coronavirus is scary, but why have you brought back 70 tubes of Pringles? And doughnuts? They go off after a day. We have 12 packs here. Custard as well. Nobody is going to eat those.” He’s made an armchair out of all his toilet roll. He’s started using the bathtub – oh god – he’s started cooking 150kg of tagliatelle pasta in the bathtub. Completely unnecessary. And now he’s using all the hand sanitiser to turn himself into a – OH GOD – he’s bollocks-naked sliding around the kitchen floor on his belly pretending to be a slug. This is not what you wanted. This is not what you wanted at all.

Stefan Savic and Jan Oblak

Arguably the two best men you’d ever want to self-isolate with. In fact, with these, you wouldn’t need to isolate at all. Imagine, for instance, you need to get out and go to work because, you know, you require money to live and all that. Well, you wouldn’t need to worry with Stefan Savic and Jan Oblak by your side. There’s a bloke coughing everywhere on the bus? No problem, there’s Stefan Savic to nut him straight through the window and onto the street. Get to work and don’t want to touch the handle on the front door? No problem, Stefan Savic will simply charge through the glass door entrance, forehead first, creating a perfectly large, germ-free hole for everyone to walk through without touching. Then there’s Oblak. Invisible airborne droplets heading your way? Not to worry, there’s Jan Oblak to spring through the air and claw them away from your mouth and eyes. Momentarily forget to stop touching your face (why the fuck do we touch our own faces so much, by the way? How did none of us realise we touched our own faces so much?) and there’s Jan again to slap your hand away like he’s rising highest in the Atleti penalty area to double-fist away a corner. Literally park these two in front of you and you will stay infection free, forever. What a dream. Go anywhere you like. But only if you have Jan Oblak and Stefan Savic in front of you. Otherwise, STAY THE FUCK INDOORS.

David Luiz

David Luiz is in your bed again, giving you a cuddle. “David, come on. We’re supposed to be keeping our distance. 2 metres mate. You promised…”, you remind him, sternly, but it’s no good. He clings to you like a koala to bamboo. And now he’s licking your face. Great. David Luiz is licking your face whilst you’re in quarantine with him trying desperately to get through the second season of Narcos: Mexico. Now he’s in the bathroom, singing ‘Dancing Queen’ by ABBA whilst he washes his hands. Not for 20 seconds. The entire song. Now he’s got the thermometer out, again, asking you whether 37.1 degrees celsius qualifies as a fever (“No, David. No it doesn’t. For the eighth time today, not it does not) and if one of the Covid-19 symptoms is a relentless desire to play out from the back. Go to sleep, David. Please. Please go to sleep and leave me alone forever. Thank you.

Anthony Martial

To my knowledge, Anthony Martial hasn’t taken off those black cotton gloves in almost five years of English football. He is, therefore, the perfect candidate to stay with you during the lockdown. Probably has a spare snood, too. There is frankly zero chance of him spreading Covid-19 and, whatever you might think about his goal record at United considering he is a £58 million player, that deserves to be commended. Well done, Anthony. Bravo. You were one step ahead of us from the off.

Ashley Westwood

How did you get stuck with this nerd? Ashley Westwood is rationing your toilet paper (two squares for a dump, one for seat spillage) and making you play Risk. Until completion. He’s set up shop in South America as well. It could take you hours, possibly days, to get him out of there. Ashley Westwood is cooking you boiled rice and only boiled rice for dinner (“Can we at least break out the basmati, Ash?” “NO! That’s for Christmas”) and Ashley Westwood is wiping down every surface in the house on an hourly basis. Ashley Westwood is listening to a podcast about owls which means, unfortunately, you must also listen to a podcast about owls. He doesn’t have a Netflix account but he does have the full Encyclopedia Britannica, which he argues is “just as good as Netflix, if not better”. Ashley Westwood, the most boring footballer on the planet, is not somebody you want to get quarantined with. Do not get quarantined with Ashley Westwood, under any circumstances. Do you hear me, Jack Cork? DO YOU HEAR ME JACK CORK? STAY AWAY FROM HIM.

Robert Snodgrass

Bobby Snodders. It would be an absolute delight to self-isolate with this man. I could quite happily have this guy rip the piss out of me for two straight weeks and I’d still love every second of it. I want him commentating on absolutely everything I do. I want to practice my keepy-ups with toilet roll and knock a pass over for him to volley out the window. I want to h̶u̶g̶  dab him from a safe distance in celebration. I want to wake up one morning, walk downstairs, and find Robert Snodgrass has covered all my belongings in tin foil. I want to drink Irn-Bru until I burst whilst hearing him say ‘Go on yourself then’. Snoddy, if you’re reading this, let me know. I’ll be waiting.

Jamie Vardy

“Jamie… Jamie, mate. Do you think we should go out and get some food, maybe? I’ve looked in the cupboards and all we’ve got in is loads of off-brand supermarket energy drinks, vodka and Skittles. I mean, we can only eat one of those three things. And we’re mostly not even eating them, we’re just using them to make Skittle-flavoured vodka.”

“We’ll be fine,” Vardy grumbles back, as the cold glow of the television washes over him sat motionless on the cream-leather corner sofa. “It’s just scaremongering. Don’t believe everything you read, yeah?” He hasn’t moved in days. You’re pretty sure he hasn’t slept at all. In fact, watching him now, silently and methodically dismantling the AI on Fifa, you’re pretty sure he is not even blinking. He brings another can of Blue Bolt to his lips, takes a hefty swig, and washes it down with a handful of Skittles. He scores another goal with virtual Jamie Vardy against Crystal Palace and makes virtual Jamie Vardy do the flapping bird celebration in front of their supporters. His joyless expression doesn’t change. You decide to quietly leave the Vardy premises. Even Troy Deeney’s gaff was better than this. At least you had pasta.

Son Heung-min

Me and Sonny, making Tik-Toks, dancing along to K-Pop, going the right kind of viral. Me and Sonny making each other a brew and sharing the big blanket on the sofa from opposite ends whilst we watch the entirety of the Lord of the Rings extended edition. Me and Sonny doing some face painting – I turn him into a lion, he turns me into an elephant – and laughing. Me and Sonny being extremely respectful of each other’s personal space, other than, you know, the face painting, and following the hygiene protocol without the need to say to each other “I’ve been washing my hands every 40 seconds, look how cracked they are!” and then showing off our ungodly cracked hands. Me and Sonny just being best mates, basically, and quarantining in the most wholesome fashion possible until everything blows over. That’s what I want. Deep down, that’s all I want.

Adama Traore

Just a lot of bicep curls with tins of soup? Yeah. Just a lot of bicep curls with tins of soup really. In two months time, Adama Traore is going to have arms the size of legs and legs the size of cars. I promise you that.