Fleetwood Town boss Joey Barton has accused Troy Deeney and Glenn Murray of ‘opportunism’ following concerns raised about the Premier League returning amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Watford skipper Deeney has publicly blasted the English top-flight’s ‘Project Restart’ plans, insisting he will not put his family’s health before football.
Brighton’s Murray also believes the season is being rushed back too soon, with England the worst-hit country in Europe affected by the disease.
Nonetheless, Premier League chiefs are pressing ahead with plans to resume the 2019/20 campaign next month, but Deeney is still not convinced about the safety of players and suggests he would rather go broke than put his loved ones at risk.
“I am not even talking about football at the moment,” he told Simon Hosannah on Instagram. “I am talking about my family’s health and that is it.
“If I feel that I’m not looking after my family then I’m not going to do it. I am not going to put my family at risk.
“What are they going to do, take money off me? I’ve been broke before so it doesn’t bother me.”
Barton, the former Premier League midfielder, is never one to mince his words and believes Deeney and co are attempting to force the season to be declared null and void.
On Twitter, Barton wrote: “Glenn Murray and Troy Deeney are in a relegation scrap. If they don’t want to play, I understand it. Don’t play then. Stay at home.
“There will be a lot of young players at Brighton/Watford, desperate for an opportunity and who will fight to save their respective clubs.
“In my opinion, the only players/clubs who don’t want to go back are the ones with either a relegation battle they want to avoid or nothing to play for.
“Every competitor wants to compete. Players have trained admirably through these crazy times, they deserve at least a shot.
“If Troy doesn’t want to play or doesn’t feel safe enough to, then that’s his choice. Let’s not kid ourselves about what is going on.
“There is big money to be had in the Premier League, who wouldn’t want another year of that towards the end of your career? Got to admire the opportunism.
“Massive bonuses for staying in the @premierleague pro rata. Squad on huge bonus for survival.
“Hundreds of thousands of pounds per man. No wonder they want it null and voided. You can’t blame them.”