Troy Deeney has opened up about his experience of being "seriously ill" with Covid-19 while at Watford and having to spend four days in hospital on a ventilator.
The striker, who is now playing for Birmingham City in the Championship, came under-fire last year for not returning to training during Project Restart.
There was suggestions that he didn't want the season to resume, as the Hornets were in a perilous position in the Premier League table.
The club captain refused to visit the training ground for two weeks, a decision which he has now revealed was made because he had already been hit hard by Covid before lockdown.
Deeney wrote on The Sun website: "I was quite seriously ill with this virus, having struggled for breath during Watford’s last match before lockdown against Crystal Palace and I ended up being hospitalised.
"Yet I was told my reluctance to return to training was because of personal greed.
"That’s always the way with footballers. We’re always greedy. There’s rarely any consideration that we’re human beings with the same issues as anyone else.
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"I am double-jabbed now and I feel far safer. At Birmingham, we’re being tested for Covid three times a week and in the Premier League they are under an even stricter regime."
Deeney, who had rarely been taken off through the course of the 2019/20 season up until that point, was substituted in the second half at Selhurst Park.
He did eventually return for the rest of the season but his club of 11 years were unable to avoid relegation.
Among the dressing room at his new side, whom he has scored four goals for this season, is Neil Etheridge, who was in intensive care after testing positive in the summer.
Deeney spoke of "heated debates" the Birmingham squad have had about getting the vaccine.
Despite his views, he is respectful of the decision of a small number of his team-mates to not be jabbed.
He added: "I think we’re getting mixed messages from the Prime Minister when it comes to Covid. I’d rather listen to the scientists, who make a lot more sense.
"I’m double-jabbed and I think it’s the right thing to do. But I also think we should respect personal choice."
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