Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes footballers have a responsibility to act as role models and support the “real heroes” working in the NHS.
Football has been suspended across most of the world due to the coronavirus pandemic which is affecting every walk of life, with Manchester United and Manchester City working together to help people in the local area.
United striker Marcus Rashford has also worked with charity FareShare to ensure children who are missing out on free meals due to school closures can be fed.
Solskjaer believes it is vital that the club sets an example in this time of global crisis.
“We all know, sometimes, we’re the heroes but, at the moment, we can be the back-up support. The NHS and the health service, they are the real heroes now,” Solskjaer said in an interview published by the club.
“I think it’s important we as footballers, and we working as role models, we’ve got a difference to make and we can do that just by sending out messages on social media and stuff.
“It’s the same for me in Norway, watching what is happening there. I think we all realise how much [is being done] and I don’t think we should save money on health. Health is a critical thing. Sorry for the political message, it just got me involved there!”
The football season in England remains suspended indefinitely but Solskjaer is confident his players will be keeping themselves in good shape for if and when the season resumes.
“Our players have been really good. They’re good lads and I trust them,” he added.
“They’re naturally fit anyway and want to improve. The training side is fine, you find they’re good people and you try to encourage, as we’ve all got to adjust.
“Some of our players have families abroad and some of them were able to go back home to be with them.
“I don’t know when we are going to get back into football and we’ve got to set dates for when we are going to report but, of course, we’re updated all the time with the government and the authorities.
“Hopefully, our fans will know they want to come back into football in a good frame of mind but the players need some time back home now.”
Solskjaer also called on all United supporters to play their part by following the advice to stay at home to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
“We’ve all got to adjust and I think everyone knows what is more important than anything now is people’s lives,” he said.
“When football is part of our life and, when football is back, we know normality has come back. I am sure the fans are eager to come back but they also have a part to play. Let’s make sure we get through this together.
“We’re all patient and looking forward to football coming back to the stadiums and on TV but, in the meantime, we’ve all got a real important role to play in staying at home and following the guidelines to help the NHS.
“If anyone can volunteer and help, that’s fantastic and that’s the way we save lives.”