FORMRE Burnley striker Jonathan Walters reckons a “large number” of footballers are holding back from voicing their concern over returning to action.

The former Republic of Ireland international, who retired from football last March, spoke out on Twitter about the prospect of football resuming after the coronavirus lockdown.

Walters, a former Rovers trainee, believes it will be unfeasible to play competitive matches in the Premier League and EFL regardless of the investment into virus testing kits.

And the 36-year-old says clubs are risking their employees’ safety by pushing them to resume the 2019/20 campaign.

Speaking on his official Twitter account, Walter said: “No football player is going to publicly say that they don’t want to get back playing because of the scrutiny it would place them under. In my experience there will be a huge number of players that won’t want put themselves and their families at risk in the current situation.

“It is impossible to play a contact sport safely and no matter how many tests you want to do, you can’t guarantee that. Clubs are also under a legal obligation to provide a safe working environment for their employees.

“I would love football to be back and be able to take my little boy to a match again but I fear that we may not see it back for a long time. I don’t think we will see fans back in stadiums till 2021 and my take on that is football is nothing without fans.”