Derby County striker Wayne Rooney has slammed the UK government for making players a scapegoat in the pay cut situation.
In a column on the Sunday Times, Rooney claimed his fellow professionals were being lined up as "easy targets" in the wider response to the coronavirus crisis.
"If the government approached me to help support nurses financially or buy ventilators I'd be proud to do so - as long as I knew where the money was going.
"I'm in a position where I could give something up. Not every footballer is in the same position. Yet suddenly the whole profession has been put on the spot with a demand for 30 per cent pay cuts across the board. Why are footballers suddenly the scapegoats?
"How the past few days have played out is a disgrace. First, the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, said that Premier League players should take a pay cut. He was supposed to be giving the nation the latest on the biggest crisis we've faced in our lifetimes.
"Why was the pay of footballers even in his head? Was he desperate to divert attention from his government's handling of this pandemic," Rooney wrote.
The Premier League's has suggested 30 per cent wage cut or deferral strategy was discussed in a conference call with the Professional Footballers' Association but initial talks were already ongoing before key political figures, including Health Secretary Matt Hancock, called for them to take action.