Marcus Rashford has hailed the role played by Manchester United captain Harry Maguire in setting up the Players Together NHS fund.
The country’s top-flight footballers came under fire last week after health secretary Matt Hancock called on them to take a pay cut amid the ongoing crisis.
But discussions were already underway between Premier League stars about how to help, with players wanting to ensure their money went to the right places instead of straight back to wealthy club owners.
“It has been tough. I think from the beginning we knew what we wanted but getting it to this stage has been difficult,” the United striker told BT Sport.
“From our part (at United) Harry Maguire has played a huge part in communicating the information between the players and really letting us have our say and reporting it back to the authorities. That is the best way to do it.
“It wasn’t easy so credit to the people that played a big part in that. We want to help in the best way possible and getting money to the right places is a massive thing.
“It took a long time and a lot of conversations between the players and we came to the decision that this was the best way to do it and the club supported us. Everyone is happy.
“I think there has been plenty of occasions, for me personally, where we’ve tried to help but we’ve not helped in the best way possible.
“And you can get some backlash from that. We wanted to take our time with the decision. Thankfully, we have done the right thing.”