Sheffield United star slams Health Secretary Matt Hancock over 'sly dig'

A Sheffield United player has waded in with his criticism of Health Secretary Matt Hancock over the politicians claims that Premier League footballers weren’t doing enough to help during the coronavirus crisis.

Wednesday, 15th April 2020, 11:44 am

Hancock had called on top flight footballers to take a pay cut, all while in the background those players were busy organising a way in which they could help.

That culminated in ‘Players Together’, a large group which pledged a percentage of their wages to NHS charities, which was announced a few days after Hancock’s barbed comments.

United’s Enda Stevens was one player involved and he has hit back at the Health Secretary over the pressure footballers were put under, describing them as ‘below the belt’.

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"It was a sly dig at us," Republic of Ireland defender Stevens said on Irish radio station RTE 2FM. "In our group chat in Sheffield United, we were always in conversation on ways (to help).

"It's not just something you can do overnight. You have to come up with a plan, the best possible way to do things to help and what we wanted to do was to help the frontline and the NHS in the way that was most beneficial.

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"We've been in those conversations and we were just sort of taken aback and put under a lot of pressure at that time.

Enda Stevens, centre, has hit back at criticism of Premier League players from Health Secretary Matt Hancock Simon Bellis/Sportimage

"We never really expected that, it all spiralled out of control and a lot of people got involved.

"It was a bit below the belt and I think what we came up with, the Players Together thing, was great, and hopefully now we'll see the benefits to that.

"Thankfully we've all come together at a good time and we can really, really help the frontline workers.

"All we want to do is help. We do understand the responsibility we have and do realise that we do need to stand up and help, and that's what we were trying to do.

"Hopefully the scheme will work really well and will be a big help."

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