Manchester City players have been staying fit at home with the help of specially designed individual training schedules during the coronavirus lockdown.

But Kyle Walker has revealed how the Blues have been sustaining another essential part of their success story while self-isolating in their homes.

The banter and camaraderie of the training ground is an important part of any football club, and Pep Guardiola has helped to engender a strong unity and squad mentality in the last three seasons.

But with all English football indefinitely suspended during the global pandemic, keeping that team spirit strong with players scattered across their homes in Greater Manchester and Cheshire is a challenge.

Walker has given an insight into the way City players have been keeping each others’ morale high as they wait for the resumption of the game, including the use of social networking app HouseParty.

The England full-back said: "As a footballer, before going into tournaments, the Euros or the World Cup, you are kind of in isolation there.

"Obviously, you have the comforts which we still have at home, but there you can go to other people’s rooms and have a little bit of banter. That is the only thing I am missing, the banter.

"With the internet we can do this and talk to each other through that, with Facetime or whatever it may be.

"You still get your drip feed of actually talking and having banter as we do.

“We have jumped on HouseParty a few times and kind of got the banter going.

"You have got the group chat that is always going off on some sort of madness. I think it is about mainly keeping the brain active.

“Obviously keeping yourselves active where, us as footballers, we have been provided with the gym equipment that Manchester City have given us and the bike and the programmes that we have carried out to make sure we are fine when we start the season, fingers crossed, again.

City players have been forced to follow individual training regimes from home, having been used to the camaraderie of the gym and the training ground.
City players have been forced to follow individual training regimes from home, having been used to the camaraderie of the gym and the training ground.

“It is just about keeping the brain active as well. It is important that you have a laugh with your mates. Obviously we are in isolation but we are still lucky enough to have the internet and everything like that so let’s use it to our advantage as much as we can.”

Walker also has his three kids to keep him occupied – and one of them seems to have been watching Nicolas Otamendi’s style of defending a little too closely!

Asked about playing football in the garden, Walker said: “It is astro, which the middle one is finding out now as is he diving all over the place and getting burns everywhere. He is learning the hard way!

“I have to say, ‘stop doing that, you don’t need to dive on here.’ He wants to dive so you kind of let him off. A lot of balls are going into the neighbour's garden, I can assure you of that.

“It is good fun and it passes a few hours. I am kind of reliving my youth a little, a bit like when I was on the estate where you just had to fill your time.

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“I have built little ramps for them in the drive. It is like a little assault course where they are in and out of the cones on their bikes, so we are trying to fill the time as much as we can.”

And when he gets some time to himself, Walker is relaxing like many other footballers: “Music - I am always on iTunes or Spotify downloading music and seeing what is new and what is coming out.

“I am into Fortnite at the minute so that is taking up a lot of my time, probably more than it should be.

“I am reaping the benefits as I am actually getting half decent now, but I do need to come off it, I can admit that! It is probably taking up a little bit too much time after I have put the kids down to bed.”