Blog - The Toe Poke, Clubs, English Premier League, James Milner, Liverpool, Story

With almost all football postponed for the next month because of the coronavirus pandemic, star players have found themselves at a loose end.

With many training grounds off limits, clubs have sent footballers home, where they’re adhering to an isolation period for the next few weeks. How are they passing the time?

ESPN will be keeping a daily eye on what the world’s best are getting up to, as well as how clubs are keeping busy by battling in online competitions against each other.

James Milner

The Liverpool midfielder ebbed away an afternoon by putting together his “Isolation XI” — basically a team made up of tenuous puns.

Milner included several ex-teammates from his Leeds and Manchester City days in his quarantine dream team, as well as England cohorts like “John Terry’s Chocolate Orange” and “Frank LAMPard”.

Yes, some of the puns were absolutely dreadful and yes, Milner definitely has too much time on his hands but you’ve simply got to applaud his dedication to keeping the masses entertained.

All hail James Milner, the most unlikely King of Lockdown.

Darren Bent

One fan of everyone’s favourite table-top football game got so bored during isolation that he decided to create a shot-for-shot remake of the “greatest Premier League goal ever scored” — namely Bent’s infamous “beach ball” switcheroo against Liverpool. When the former Sunderland striker saw the reconstruction of his most famous goal, he shared his approval.

Andres Iniesta

Responding to the gauntlet thrown down by Leicester striker Jamie Vardy and his wife (It’s…) Rebekah, Iniesta took on the “plank challenge” — which involves performing a dance routine while in “plank” pose — with his partner Anna.

The pair’s near-telepathic display was reminiscent of his glory days alongside Xavi in the heart of the Barcelona midfield.

Kevin De Bruyne

Unable to get to the gym, KDB used a little of that trademark creativity when it came to working out on his sofa.

Thankfully, his kids were available to provide some much needed ballast.

Michail Antonio

Antonio lost a game of FIFA against Tottenham youngster Ryan Sessegnon and was forced to suffer the consequences by donning a Spurs shirt as a forfeit.

Still, the West Ham forward managed to squeeze in the last laugh while proving that he’d kept up his end of the bargain.

Thomas Muller

The affable Bayern Munich star continued to keep himself amused by juggling limes in his kitchen.

Miralem Pjanic

Pjanic kept himself busy with a game of Pro Evolution Soccer and even donned former teammate Mario Mandzukic‘s Juventus shirt for the occasion.

Presumably his own is still in the wash.


With the entire squad at home, the Blues made sure to look after all of their players’ dietary requirements by sending each and every one a special care package full of fresh fruit and vegetables.

Put together by the club’s nutritionists, the boxes contained 30 eggs, 12 bananas, six apples, two bunches of grapes, two sweet potatoes, two bags of spinach, a bag of green beans, carrots, broccoli, strawberries, pineapple, lettuce and cauliflower, among other things.

Not a cocktail sausage in sight.


The South American football federation decided to bring out the big guns to help spread the message and urge people to stay at home for the foreseeable future.

A video was shared online featuring the likes of Pele, Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi, all urging everybody to adhere to lockdown protocol.

“There is no rush to play football again,” CONMEBOL declared. “Because when we play again, we want to see everyone healthy on the pitch.”

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