Shaun Wright-Phillips has leapt to the defence of Danny Rose after the Tottenham defender called plans to resume the Premier League a ‘f***ing joke’ in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The ‘Project Restart’ proposal would see top-flight football return in the UK on June 12, despite the deadly disease claiming more than 280,000 lives worldwide so far.
Rose, who is on loan at Newcastle for the remainder of the 2019/20 campaign, cannot fathom how the football authorities in this country can justify the 2019/20 season resuming with people still dying from COVID-19.
“It’s a f***ing joke, I’m not even going to lie,” he said on an Instagram Live. “The government is saying bring football back because it’s going to boost the nation’s morale, I don’t give a f*** about the nation’s morale.
“People’s lives are at risk, you know what I mean? Football shouldn’t even be spoken about coming back until the numbers have dropped massively. It’s b*******.
And joining talkSPORT on Wednesday morning, former England, Chelsea and Man City winger Wright-Phillips backed Rose’s stance regarding the seriousness of the situation.
“I’m going to back Danny Rose. I feel like he might have used the wrong words, but what he was saying was right,” he explained.
“I don’t feel like any players or any human being should be at risk. When we get to the point where the number of cases are very low, then players would be able to go out there because the risk factors wouldn’t be as high as they are now.
“I don’t really understand why footballers have to take this risk when it’s a full on contact sport?
“You’ve got sports like tennis, golf and Formula One where there is no face-to-face contact, but everyone is pressurising the footballers to make this step up.
“People forget their lives are at risk as well and they’ve got to go back home to their families.”
Wright-Phillips, 38, believes players will be at risk from serious injuries if football resumes anytime soon.
“I saw something in the Telegraph that says if players go into slide tackles they should turn their heads.
“Now if that is true, that means somebody is going to come off the back of it with a broken leg.
“Once you’ve crossed that white line in a game, to a point it’s all or nothing.
“You want to do everything in your power and give 100 per cent for the team you are playing for, so with all the restrictions in place I feel like it’s going to spoil the game that everyone loves anyway.
“They should wait for a bit longer, there shouldn’t be any rush to return football.”
When asked by Jim White if he would return to action next month if he was still playing, Wright-Phillips responded: “No, I don’t think I would.
“Unless it was safe to do so for my teammates and the other people working within the industry at the time.
“If anything I think it could only go and spike another wave [of coronavirus], which nobody in the country wants.
“There’s load of other sports which don’t even get a mention.
“The Brighton team have been back [training] and they’ve already got three new cases and that’s within two weeks.
“So if that can happen at Brighton it can happen with every single Premier League team, which I pray doesn’t happen, and the same applies to the EFL.”