Manchester United striker Michael Owen believes professional footballers are increasingly at risk of being viewed unfavourably by the public.
The past few months have seen English football overwhelmed by a slew of negative headlines regarding the behaviour of some high earners in the Barclays Premier League. The enormous salaries commanded by players has also provoked the ire of the media and fans, with some commanding weekly wages in excess of £200,000 a week.
But Owen insists the sweeping generalisations are unfair on many professionals and he told BBC Radio 5 Live: "People like to judge footballers as a whole but I think that's pretty unfair."
Against the backdrop of the government's recent spending review, footballers have become an easy target for critics, with some quick to brand them as being out of touch with the rest of society.
Owen added: "Everyone's different. I've met some footballers that are absolutely fantastic people, are always visiting sick kids, they do things for charities, but they don't ask for any press coverage.
"They just go about it because they want to do it. Some don't, but that's not to say they're bad people. I think it's dangerous if you generalise and say 'all footballers are this, all footballers are that'.
"We're all individuals, we all do our different things, and the common thing is we all go out on a Saturday afternoon and play on the football pitch. But apart from that every footballer's different."
Owen also revealed he has suffered a setback in his recovery from injury.
The striker was due to return for Tuesday night's Carling Cup fixture with Wolves at Old Trafford, but a hamstring tear is set to sideline him for a few more weeks.
He said: "I had a tight groin quite a while ago and then I trained for a week in preparing for the game (against Wolves), but had a setback in training with a different muscle injury, so unfortunately that ruled me out and is going to rule me out for a few weeks as well."