Nedum Onuoha: "I can't be 100% behind" Wayne Rooney's comments

Monday, March 16th, 2020 11:47am

Former Manchester City and QPR and current Real Salt Lake defender Nedum Onuoha has spoken about Wayne Rooney's column in the Sunday Times.

Last week various sporting events were called off in the wake of several high profile figures contracting COVID-19. With the news that Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta and Chelsea's Callum Hudson-Odoi were tested positive for the virus, soon after it was announced that all top-four tiers of English football were to be suspended until early April. 

Italy had already suspended the Serie A season after some fixtures were initially played behind closed doors. 

Wayne Rooney, in his first column writing in the Sunday Times, explained he was pleased that professional football in England was stopped for the time being but considered the move to be too slow, subsequently criticising the government. 

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"For players, staff and their families it has been a worrying week," the former England international said.

"One in which you felt a lack of leadership from the government and from the FA and Premier League.

"The rest of sport - tennis, Formula 1, 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?'. Why did we wait until Friday? Why did it take Mikel Arteta [Arsenal head coach] to get ill for the game in England to do the right thing?

"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.

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"I know how I feel. If any of my family get infected through me because I've had to play when it's not safe, and they get seriously ill, I'd have to think hard about ever playing again. I would never forgive the authorities."

Responding to Manchester United's record goalscorer's comments about footballers being treated like guinea pigs, former Manchester City and QPR centre-back Nedum Onuoha was not in complete agreement.

"Yeah, I think I agree with him in some ways, but not in every possible way. Because what he said, I think he's correct. But then you look around society and things like this and other people are still doing their jobs, they might come into contact with more people than you would find in terms of us going to a training ground or us going to play the game.

"Because playing the game behind closed doors, you could maybe encounter 50 people. And then how about someone who's working in a supermarket, you can encounter 1000 every hour, you know what I mean?

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"Like I get the point that he's trying to make, but as I say there's just more to it. 

"I think the fact that games have been cancelled and stuff like that, based on Wayne saying what he's saying that the players catching the virus, people can have some level of resentment because they think the game is being cancelled to protect us. 

"But it's fine for Wayne to say that but then if he matches that energy just in the way that he matches his life, then his point is 100% valid because he's uncomfortable to step out of his house.

"But it seems like that's not the case with people because they need to go to supermarkets, they need to go to this place and go see that person, go do this that whatever.

"So, I can't be 100% behind him. I like the message but not necessarily delivery."

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