Man United could stop Bruno Fernandes from playing for Portugal in March
Star would have to quarantine; James McCarthy injures groin in draw with United
Manchester United could stop Bruno Fernandes from playing for Portugal later this month. Photograph: Adrian Dennis/Getty/AFP
United appear set to follow the lead of Premier League champions Liverpool, who will not allow players to travel to international matches in March if they have to quarantine on their return.
Jurgen Klopp confirmed on Wednesday they would make the most of Fifa giving clubs the option to prevent players who may be affected by the regulations from joining up with their countries.
Liverpool could have several first-teamers subject to 10 days’ hotel confinement under the current coronavirus guidelines for arrivals from red-list travel-ban countries.
Diogo Jota, an international team-mate of Fernandes with Portugal, is among those set to be affected.
Solskjaer was asked about the predicament following the midweek goalless draw at Crystal Palace and said: “We’ve not sat down and made a proper call on that one, but it doesn’t make sense if you lose your player for 10 days’ isolation.
“We are the ones paying the players and from what I understand that is the rule, Fifa have given the rule they don’t have to be released so I would think that would be a hard call to make — to let them go and play in red-list countries.”
If Fernandes was to feature for Portugal against Azerbaijan, Serbia and Luxembourg, it may result in him being absent for up to three fixtures for United between April 3rd-10th.
The Norwegian added: “I want Bruno, of course, ready against Brighton and hopefully we are through in Europe and against Tottenham after that break. Of course I do.”
Brazil defender Alex Telles is another who could be impacted and if Uruguayan Edinson Cavani did not have a two-match international ban to serve, he may have added to Solskjaer’s problems in this area.
One of Crystal Palace’s players could also be set to miss out on playing for his country later this month too, but for differing reasons.
Republic of Ireland’s James McCarthy, who went almost four years without playing international football due to injuries before he returned under Stephen Kenny at the end of 2020, has picked up another problem.
The midfielder was forced off in the second half of Palace’s stalemate with United after returning following a month on the sidelines with a groin issue.
McCarthy, 30, made his first start since January 30th against Wolves where he was also withdrawn prematurely.
Palace boss Roy Hodgson said: “Yes it’s a concern because the injury which kept him out was an injury in the groin region and he felt it again.
“It is a major concern and if it turns out he can’t play in the next couple of games, it will be a major blow for us because I thought he did very well in the 60 minutes he played.
“He is a player we would like to see available but he is another in the course of the season who has missed a lot of games for injury or personal reasons.”