Tottenham striker Harry Kane believes Premier League players were the subject of “unfair criticism” during the coronavirus pandemic.
Players were unwittingly dragged into a political debate last month when UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock publicly called on them to take a pay cut and “play their part” in the country’s response to the outbreak.
The Premier League had held talks with players over a 30 per cent reduction in salary, but the proposal proved unpopular.
Many players instead felt a targeted donation would be of more benefit, arguing that a pay cut would effectively reduce government income tax revenue.
Wayne Rooney even went as far to say that the players were being made "scapegoats" and left in a "no-win" situation.
Kane says that demonstrated the players’ desire to help fight the pandemic, with some of the criticism aimed in their direction misplaced.
"We've shown we're doing everything we can to help support the NHS, charities and everyone who is struggling during this pandemic," Kane told BBC Radio 5 Live.
"We came under a bit of scrutiny and probably unfair criticism at times.”
The striker also paid tribute to frontline workers for their efforts throughout the lockdown, adding: "From delivery drivers to care workers and doctors to shop workers, they have been amazing.
"Everyone is doing so much work behind the scenes that not everyone sees."
Kane also admits he is trying to take the positives from the lockdown as he continues his recovery from a hamstring injury suffered at the start of January.
The forward was expected to miss the rest of the campaign and was a severe doubt for the European Championship, which has now been moved to next summer because of the Covid-19 outbreak.
"I wouldn't have had as many games as I would have liked or as much training as I would have liked to really get to my highest level," he said.
"I'm trying to take the positives. This period has given me a chance to recover a bit more.
"Before lockdown I was at the stage where I was pretty much doing everything except training with the team.
"The last week or so I have been able to do one-on-one training with one coach on the pitch. It's a case of getting that feeling back and doing a lot of individual training and finishing."