LONDON (Reuters) – Newcastle United defender Danny Rose has said Premier League players are being treated like “lab rats” after teams were given permission to return to training in small groups this week.

The England international, who is on loan from Tottenham Hotspur, has been a vocal critic of the league’s plans to restart the season, which has been suspended since mid-March due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

The league said on Tuesday that six people from three different clubs had tested positive for COVID-19 out of a sample of 748 individuals.

“People are suggesting we should go back to football, like we’re guinea pigs or lab rats. We’re going to experiment this phase and see if it works or not,” Rose said on the Lockdown Tactics podcast.

“I can just imagine people at home saying, ‘Well they earn that amount of money so they should be going back.’

“For stuff like that I think is it worth the hassle? I could be potentially risking my health for people’s entertainment and that’s not something I want to be involved in if I’m honest.”

Watford have confirmed that three people from the club, including one player, have tested positive for COVID-19, while Burnley said their assistant coach Ian Woan was among those to return a positive result after being tested on Sunday.

Watford skipper Troy Deeney has said he will not resume training out of concern for his son’s health.