'A f*cking cheek!' - Neville slams Health Secretary Hancock for Premier League pay-cut comment

Gary Neville has criticised British Health Secretary Matt Hancock after he called on Premier League footballers to "take a pay cut and play their part" in the fight against coronavirus.

Hancock’s comments have divided public opinion, with some agreeing that footballers should part with their wages and others calling out the Health Secretary's alleged hypocrisy in not asking the same of other well-paid public figures and professions.

Former Manchester United and England right-back Neville made his thoughts on the matter totally clear on Twitter. He wrote: "I wish I was a player for 10 more mins.

"The PL players are more than likely working on a proposal to help clubs, communities and the NHS.

"It takes longer than two weeks to put together. Matt Hancock calling them out when he can’t get tests in place for NHS staff is a f*****g cheek!"

Neville’s fellow former England international Gary Lineker has also given his support to players , suggesting the spotlight should instead fall on the far wealthier club owners.

His former side Tottenham have been criticised for cutting the salaries of 550 non-playing staff members , despite owner Joe Lewis having a reported net worth of over £4.3 billion ($5.3bn).

"It's now up to the players how they respond,” Lineker told Sky News on Thursday.

"Let's give them a chance to respond, before this hugely judgmental pile-on that we always get nowadays.

"Football is always an easy target but where are the big businessmen, where are the CEOs of these enormous companies, what are they doing at the moment?

"Nobody ever seems to care about them but footballers, who do an unbelievable amount of good in the community that never gets reported, who do lots of things to raise awareness during this dreadfully difficult time.

"So, let's wait and see, and see what they do. I'll be the first to criticise them if they do nothing."

Across Europe, a number of players and clubs have donated significant portions of their earnings to the cause.

Marcus Rashford is leading the way in the Premier League , providing free meals to children in Manchester who would otherwise go without with schools closed.

Bayern Munich’s Joshua Kimmich says players have "a responsibility" to help , with he and team-mate Leon Goretzka setting up a fund called 'We Kick Corona ', which has already raised more than €3.7m.

On Thursday, Atletico Madrid players agreed to take a 70 per cent pay cut in order to support the wages of non-playing staff, following the example set by Barcelona .