Premier League stars have been backed to pass an unprecedented test of mind and body when action resumes next month.

But it won’t always be plain sailing as the final nine rounds of the 2019-20 season are completed.

Worthing-based personal trainer Alex Parsons has seen first-hand the challenges faced by his half-dozen or so clients from top-tier clubs since action was halted due to coronavirus.

And he believes they can now see light at the end of the tunnel.

He told The Argus: “That was something that quite a few of the boys were struggling with, not having an actual date in their heads.

“It sounds simple because it is their job but it is really hard to motivate yourself and put a plan into place when you haven’t got a date in front of you.

The Argus:

Alex Parsons

“As soon as they got a date - or dates were being thrown around by the Premier League and their clubs - you could see that was when it all kicked in for them.

“That was when I felt like they really got to work.

“Before that they were just maintaining as much possible.

“A lot of people will know working out by yourself is really tough, especially when you are used to that team environment.

“I know a few of the clubs had leaderboards for things like who had been running the fastest, stuff like that.

“They kept them in tune with that kind of thing. It kept them engaged.

“All of them are incredibly competitive, no matter what they do.”

Action was halted ahead of the weekend of March 14 and 15 after Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta tested positive for Covid-19 in the run-up to his side’s game at the Amex.

But for how long? That was something no one could predict.

Parsons said: “In the first couple of weeks (of the stoppage) no one was sure when they were going to be back.

“Different clubs took different strategies on keeping the boys fit.

“Some were letting them have more regeneration sessions, which are recovery-based sessions, until they got a plan into place which in, my opinion will work well in the long run, until they had an actual date.

“It’s now going to be like a mini pre-season.

“We haven’t had this before and I think different clubs are taking different strategies with their players but these guys have the best medical teams in the world around them.

“There is a lot of talk out there at the moment about the risk of injuries going into the next 12 months. But, again, nobody really knows.

“It will be a tough period for them and they will have to be managed really well but, like I said, these guys have got the best people in the world around them.”

In the end, it looks like the lay-off will be a little more than three months when matches resume.

Tough – but not beyond elite sportsmen.

Parsons said: “A lot people have seen the Bundesliga and I think we are going to see a slower tempo than we are used to in the Premier League.

“The Premier League is one of the most intense in the world and it is going to be interesting.

“I’m looking forward to seeing it and I think a lot of people are, to see how the players adapt.

“But, like the very best athletes in the world, they find a way to adapt and be the best, no matter what.

“I think you will see the very best athletes come out of this as strong as when they went in.

“The boys I have dealt with are eager to get back.

“A lot of people are going back to work and these guys have got the best logistics around to deal with this.

“They are being tested twice a week and the protocols they are having to go through are really rigorous.

“In terms of going back to work, they are among the safest in the world at the moment and they know that.

“They are putting trust in the guys looking after them and the medical teams, who are all working really hard.

“The guys I’ve been working with just want to get it done, get it finished.”

Prem’s big test FROM BACK PAGE tant to have some games before the restart.

“No one knows how they will deal with that but I think they will have to be in-house games.

“To go from not much to a Premier League game, where there is so much riding on it especially in the bottom six, there is so much pressure on them.

“The psychological stress of high pressured games along with not being at 100% match fit is when there are possibilities of injuries occurring, but these guys are finely tuned athletes.”

and the best of them will be raring to go”