Sheffield United star makes his second donation towards the fight against Covid-19

Enda Stevens, one of the original contributors to a fund designed to help League of Ireland players suffering financial hardship because of the coronavirus crisis, is among a number of top-flight footballers who have pledged to raise money for the NHS as it spearheads this country’s fight against the respiratory disease

Thursday, 9th April 2020, 10:37 am
Updated Thursday, 9th April 2020, 12:29 pm

The wing-back is among eight members of Sheffield United’s first team squad to publicly support the #PlayersTogether initiative; which is designed to “quickly grant funds” to the health service and distribute them “where they are needed the most”.

United captain Billy Sharp and John Egan, Stevens’ Republic of Ireland team mate, are also among those known to be backing the voluntary project.

Others under Chris Wilder’s command are understood to have made private donations towards a variety of other charitable causes helping those affected by the global pandemic.

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Last month, it emerged that Stevens, who recently agreed to remain with United until at least 2023, was backing a scheme, designed by agent Graham Barrett, to support LOI players who have been forced to go without pay since the competition was suspended.

“The League of Ireland was a stepping stone to get me where I am today,” Stevens, who represented UCD, St Patrick’s Athletic and Shamrock Rovers before moving to England, said at the time. “It taught me a lot about the game and it was a big thing for me back then.”

“When I played (in Ireland),” he continued, “When you stopped playing in the off season, you could go out and work. But that opportunity has been taken away from the players and it looks like it will be for a much longer period.

“It is a difficult time for the clubs and the players, so it was just a donation to raise awareness to the situation and hopefully it will get bigger people and bigger companies involved.”

Enda Stevens of Sheffield United: Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images

#PlayersTogether is separate to a similar idea, spawned by the Professional Footballers’ Association, which has seen its members help raise a sum of around £1m for the NHS and charities helping the battle against Covid-19.

Talks between the union and PL clubs, which could see players accept wage cuts or deferrals during the fixture shutdown, are set to continue. But negotiations between the parties involved have been complicated by the fact that many top-flight sides are pursuing individual approaches rather than acting en bloc.

Oli McBurnie, Dean Henderson, Phil Jagielka, Kieron Freeman and Ben Osborn also feature on the list of backers released by #PlayersTogether.

"We can confirm that after extensive conversations between a huge number of players from all Premier League clubs we have created our own collective player initiative, #PlayersTogether, and have partnered with NHS Charities Together (NHSCT) in order to assist them in generating and distributing funds quickly and efficiently to where they are needed most,” Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane, speaking on behalf of his colleagues, said.

Various Sheffield United players have donated towards a number of different causes: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

"This is a critical time for our country and for the NHS," a statement, issued on #PlayersTogether's behalf, added. "We're determined to help in any way we can."

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