Wayne Rooney believes footballers in England were treated like 'guinea pigs' prior to the FA pressing pause on the season, saying the Premier League should consider starting in winter for the next two seasons to get the sport back on track.


The former ​Manchester United and current Derby County star has been hit as hard as any footballer by the FA's decision to postpone professional football in the country until at least April, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 


But while ​Rooney believes, like anyone, that it was the right decision to call off football for the time being, he says the amount of time authorities took over the decision left footballers feeling like 'guinea pigs' who were put at needless risk as the rest of sport shut down.  

Wayne Rooney

He wrote in ​The Times: "When I drove into training on Friday morning with my gear in the back, ready to travel to London, I was thinking, ‘I don’t want to travel, I don’t want to play, I don’t want to put my family at risk or for fans to be at risk.’


"After the emergency meeting, at last the right decision was made — until then it almost felt like footballers in England were being treated like guinea pigs. The rest of sport — tennis, Formula One, rugby, golf, football in other countries — was closing down and we were being told to carry on. I think a lot of footballers were wondering, ‘Is it something to do with money being involved in this?’


Rooney went on, saying that everything should be done to finish the season - even if that means the ​Premier League kicking off in winter for the next two seasons. 

He said: "At least now there is three weeks without games, after the FA suspended League football until April 3, for the sport and the government to come together and assess everything properly. If Coronavirus is as bad as the predictions say, then there may come a stage where you have to decide whether to cancel the season completely. 


"From a players’ point of view, if the season has to finish in June, finish in June — the Euros will be cancelled, 100 per cent. We’re happy to play until September if the season extends to then, if that’s how it has to be. That’s our job. As long as we know we’re safe to play and it’s a safe environment for spectators, we’ll play.

Jesse Lingard,Wayne Rooney

"The next World Cup is in November and December 2022, so you could actually use this situation as an opportunity and say we’re going to finish the 2019-20 season later this year, then prepare for 2022 by having the next two seasons starting in winter. 


"There are different things the game can look at."