Premier League return is a thorny issue for outspoken Rose

Tottenham and England defender Danny Rose has branded plans to bring Premier League football back next month as “b******s” and slammed the notion that sport should be used to raise the population’s spirits
following the coronavirus lockdown.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has outlined a series of phased measures which include the possibility of behind-closed-doors sporting events from June 1, a situation he said would offer a “much-needed boost to the national morale”.

The Premier League’s ‘Project Restart’ has been looking at a return to action in the coming weeks but Rose treated the discussions with a combination of anger and disdain during an appearance on Instagram Live.

Rose, speaking on Lock’Don Live, said: “Government is saying ‘bring football back’ because it is going to boost the nation’s morale.

“I don’t give a f*** about the nation’s morale, bro, people’s lives are at risk. Football shouldn’t even be spoke about coming back until the numbers (infected or dying) have dropped massively. It’s b******s. We’ll see.”

Rose, who had been playing on loan for Newcastle before the pandemic forced the sporting hiatus, added: “I’m supposed to go back, I think I’m getting tested on Friday so we will just have to wait and see.”

Rose’s comments echo a more reserved assessment from his England team-mate Raheem Sterling. In a video posted to his YouTube channel the Manchester City forward outlined his areas of concern.

While many are keen for the 2019-20 to be concluded – for financial reasons, entertainment value and the integrity of the sport – Sterling believes all such considerations are secondary.

“The moment we do go back it just needs to be a moment where it’s not just for footballing reasons, it’s safe for not just us footballers but the whole medical staff, referees,” he said.

“I feel like once that side, of the people’s safety and the player’s safety, is secured and their well-being is looked after, then that’s the right time to go back in.

“Until then, I’m…how can I say…not scared, but reserved and thinking what the worst outcome could be. I’ve had friends whose grandma’s passed away, I’ve had family members as well that have passed away. You’ve got to be wise and take care of yourself and those around you.”

Aston Villa defender Tyrone Mings took to Twitter with a similar view – that health concerns were the only measure to be guided by, not footballing ones.

Villa currently sit in the relegation zone but Mings posted: “In my eyes we either play with relegation, because it’s safe to do so, or don’t play because it’s not safe to do so.”