Neal Maupay has pleaded with Albion fans to ‘think of others’ by obeying the Government’s new rules on self-isolation to help fight the spread of the coronavirus.
Like the rest of the population, Albion’s French forward is at home although the squad train on a daily basis by using a video sharing platform which enables them to work with their team-mates and the club’s support staff.
“It is not easy to cope with,” he admitted. “All of my family is in France and I can’t get to see them and at times like this you want to be close to your loved ones.
“I understand that for everyone’s safety you have to avoid social contact but it is not easy. I miss the camaraderie with my team-mates on the training ground and then those moments before we go onto the pitch for matches.
“But I’m not thinking about what is going to happen when the season starts again. Football is secondary to health and making sure everyone stays safe and happy for when we go back to normal. My message would be to think of others and follow the Government’s advice.
"We need to understand that we can pass the virus on so don’t be selfish. Follow the instructions and be patient and calm and do the right things. Hopefully in a few weeks we can get back to normal.”
Maupay, who has scored nine goals in his first season in the Premier League, says he looks forward to the squad’s training sessions, even though they are happening remotely.
“We do exercises at home but we can see each other and talk, tell a few jokes and check with the boys," he said. "It’s good to have that chemistry, to check that everyone is okay, especially those who are not close to their families at the moment.”
Extra time off has also allowed Maupay the chance to indulge in his two favourite hobbies: reading and playing computer games.
He represented Albion in Leyton Orient’s 128-club FIFA tournament but lost 2-0 in the first round to Sparta Rotterdam, who were represented by a professional player.
“It was fun for me, but unfortunately I lost to a FIFA professional which was a bit unfair! We had a good time though.
“I dominated the game but he had 11 players around his box so it was difficult to get through. I tried to press him in the second half, but he got a second goal at the end. It was good though and a lot of Brighton fans came on my stream to support me, which was fun.
“I have played FIFA since I was a kid, from the age of seven or eight I was on the PlayStation. Sometimes I didn’t focus enough on school so my parents had to hide my game!
“I am definitely reading more as well at the moment because we’re not allowed to go out and I follow the news more than I used to. We need to make the most of this time. In football we never stop so this is a good moment to take a step back and appreciate life more.”