Sheffield United boss critical of international break during a pandemic
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Sheffield United boss critical of international break during a pandemic

Sheffield United manager Chris Wilder has questioned whether there should be an international break during a global pandemic.

Several Blades players have been away over the past fortnight playing for their respective countries.

John Egan, David McGoldrick and Enda Stevens featured for the Republic of Ireland. Oli Burke, John Fleck and Oli McBurnie were called up by Scotland, while Sander Berge played for Norway.

Goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale was also in action for England Under-21s.

Yet with coronavirus cases rising in the UK, there are question marks about whether players should be flying around the world and mixing with lots of different people.


There are reports Egan is currently self-isolating, for instance, having come into close contact with a teammate who has tested positive for Covid-19.

“The situation at the moment is difficult – boys flying about all over the place, 1.5m rule in one country, 2m in another country,” Wilder said in his pre-match press conference, as quoted by Yorkshire Live.

“Every manager that gets affected by international call-ups will say they are far from comfortable with what’s happened. Players straight away on international duty, all pre-season plans difficult and even more difficult in the Premier League.

“Seven, eight and nine (players) flying about all over the place. With Covid as well, I am sure every Premier League manager could have done without these breaks. Unfortunately for us we, have to abide by it and get over the hurdle in front of us.”

Other Sheffield United issues after international break

(Photo by Visionhaus)

Wilder refused to confirm whether Egan would miss Sunday’s match with Fulham. But laws do dictate the defender would have to quarantine for 14 days if he has come into close contact with someone with Covid-19.

Yet that isn’t the only issue Wilder has after the international break. Burke was sent home early after picking up an apparent knock. Meanwhile, fellow Scot Fleck was substituted in the second half of Sunday’s Nations League win over Slovakia because of injury.

David McGoldrick was also injured while away. All four are now a doubt for the weekend.

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