Professional Football Association chief executive Gordon Taylor believes modern footballers have to show more appreciation for the game.
Luis Suarez, Wayne Rooney and Gareth Bale have all been involved in high-profile transfer sagas throughout the close-season, while Newcastle United striker Papiss Cisse was caught in a dispute with the club over their choice of shirt sponsor.
And Taylor feels such incidents portray football in the wrong light and urged his members to show a more professional attitude to their job.
"The players don't know how lucky they are nowadays," Taylor told The Telegraph.
"I went the other day to see one of our former players, Gary Parkinson, who played for Bolton, Preston, Burnley, Blackpool and Middlesbrough. He was working with youngsters at Blackpool all hours and had a stroke (in 2010). Terrible.
"It would just be good if I could say, 'Just come with me this morning and you'd really appreciate what you've got. You owe the game a bit. You don't need all this, prospective moves, refusal to wear a shirt, different problems with lads twittering because they are not in the team. Try to be a bit more professional'.
"It's my job to protect players but when you think what some players earn, I do feel we need to get them to embrace a lot more responsibility for leaving the game in a better place than when they joined it."
Taylor also warned Premier League teams on the danger of accepting sponsorship deals that provide the highest capital and urged clubs to give back to the supporters.
"Everything is in danger of losing its soul if you're always going to sell out to the highest bidder," he continued.
"Football has got its biggest job to keep the soul of the game. To have the highest aggregate attendances in the world for a small island is phenomenal but we don't have a divine right to be that major spectator sport.
"Supporters really are the lifeblood of the game. We need to make sure we don't alienate supporters."