Former Ireland international Jonathan Walters says players are fearful of speaking out over their safety concerns about returning to action.
And the ex-Stoke man also feels it will be months before stadiums are open to fans again as football will be behind closed doors when it returns.
The Premier League adopted an "as you were" stance after a meeting of clubs yesterday, admitting that they will abide by government advice and rules on when the English top flight can get back to action.
But Walters, who retired through injury last year, says players are deeply worried, echoing the views of Sergio Aguero earlier this week.
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"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," Walters said on Twitter. "It is impossible to play a contact sport safely and no matter how many tests you want to do, you can't guarantee that.
"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."