Watford captain Troy Deeney has spoken out about the abuse he has received for not attending training sessions because of his concerns regarding the coronavirus pandemic.

The Hornets number nine is believed to be considering a return to the training ground, after shareholders voted unanimously in favour of a return to contact training at a vote on Wednesday morning.

However, Deeney's reluctance to initially return for individual training from last week, due to his concerns about the way the coronavirus disproportionately affects BAME people and his son's health, have put him on the receiving end of a barrage of abuse.

Speaking to CNN Sport, the 31-year-old revealed the extent of the messages he was receiving and as a result, said he understands why people do not feel comfortable to speak about their mental health.

"I saw some comments in regards to my son, people saying: 'I hope your son gets corona[virus],'" he said. "That's the hard part for me. If you respond to that, people then go: 'Ah, we've got him' and they keep doing it.

"In a time where it's all about mental health and everyone says: 'Speak up, speak out, please speak,' Danny Rose spoke out ... and I spoke out and we just get absolutely hammered and battered for it.

"So people see that and go: 'Woah' and it's not just us that gets it, the missus gets direct messages and you'll be walking down the street and people will be like: 'Oh, I'm at work, you go back to work.'"

In addition to the abuse, Deeney said he had also received a lot of support, particularly once other people joined him in raising their concerns, like Chelsea's Ngolo Kante and Manchester City's Sergio Aguero.

"Personally, I just think this is showing me that the players have so much power if they actually all came together," he said. "That's what this is showing me. I've had a lot of messages of support from people that I wouldn't normally - well, that I didn't even know had my number for a start.

"But certainly from players from bigger clubs and that shows me that I must be doing something right because I'm just a little old Troy from Watford and everyone seems to listen to what I say."

After several meetings with the Premier League, Deeney is starting to get answers to some of his questions, but he admits it has at times been a frustrating process.

"I just think my concerns were purely for family reasons," explains Deeney, referring to his young son, who was born with breathing difficulties. "I needed more questions answered with a bit more authority and, at the start, they couldn't really do that, but not for any reason or want [of trying], it was just because they didn't have the information.

"I think everyone can appreciate everything what the Premier League is trying to do as well. I don't think it's a pure neglect of: 'We're going back to work and get on board or [else],' it's nothing like that. They have very good lines of communication.

"These meetings don't stay too safe -- there's some frustrating conversations. When somebody said I'm at the same risk of getting coronavirus by playing football or going to the supermarket, I said: 'I've never had to jump for a header while picking up a cucumber.'

"But then there's also been some really good ones as well."

Deeney has also been speaking to Professor Jonathan Van-Tam, the UK government's Deputy Chief Medical Officer, about the way Covid-19 has affected BAME communities and said those conversations in particular have helped him understand the situation better.

"He's been doing very, very good research and there is a lot of good will on his part to tell me, ultimately, that I'm going to be looked after as best as they can and, ultimately, there is going to be some form of risk for all of us going back to work," Deeney said.

"Lockdown [ending] and the social distancing measures coming down mean people will still always have risk."

While he may be returning to training soon, Deeney thinks that the integrity of this season has already been irrevocably removed and said he feels sorry for Liverpool, who were on course to pick up their first ever Premier League trophy.

"I believe that when it comes to the integrity of this season anyway, it's already gone," he said.

"I feel sorry for Liverpool because no matter how it plays out, they deserve to win the league. They deserve to get the trophy.

"But no matter how it plays out, even if we play all the games, it's still going to be the year spoiled by the pandemic. It's not going to be that year that Liverpool won the league being the best team and, you know, it's 30 years they haven't won for.

"So I do feel sorry for Liverpool and their players and Jordan [Henderson], but in terms of integrity, there's no way you could say that this is a viable competition."

Deeney also reflected on comments made by health secretary Matt Hancock in the early stages of the pandemic, who singled out footballers and suggested they should be doing more to contribute.

The Watford captain said no matter how much footballers raised, it would never be enough for some people.

"If you remember, we got thrown under the bus by the politician here in the UK that was saying that football players need to do more to give to the NHS," he said.

"We were already talking about giving a donation as players, those conversations were already in the pipeline and it just escalated due to somebody deciding that they wanted to throw footballers under the bus.

"How we feel sometimes is: 'There's a crisis, let's go to the footballers.' So it's the NHS, it could be anything.

"At that time, it was very early into the pandemic, we were all watching the news, trying to learn about what's going on today really.

"And for players, even if we came out and said: 'We've all donated X amount of money,' it still wouldn't be enough."