Danny Mills insisted “somebody has got to be the first” after Newcastle United loanee Danny Rose claimed footballers are being treated like “lab rats”.

The former England international, speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, understood the 29-year-old’s point but suggested he was also guilty of hyperbole.

Premier League clubs returned to training in small groups last week as preparations are stepped up ahead of a return to action in early June.

The players are being intermittently tested for COVID-19 with 6 players testing positive early last week and a further two over the weekend.

Rose, when speaking on the Lockdown Tactics podcast, suggested footballers are being treated like “guinea pig or lab rats” amid the coronavirus pandemic.

When asked by Football Insider if this was a fair depiction of how players are being handled in ‘Project Restart’, Mills said: “Danny Rose is very outspoken but he has the right to do so.

“Maybe he could say things in a different format. I think “lab rats” is going a bit too far.

“We know why the Premier League wants to go back, it is for money. There is no other reason for it to return.

“They have tried putting every single test in place to make it as safe as possible.

“He may feel like he has been treated as a guinea pig but somebody has got to. Somebody has got to be the first. Doctors and nurses have been.

“I get his point that they are the first to go back and it is being tried and tested on them.”

Rose said: “Just off the fact that 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.”

In other Newcastle United news, it can be REVEALED that West Ham have set sights on signing Magpies ace this summer.