Steve Bruce says ‘a lot’ of Newcastle players have declined Covid-19 vaccine

Karl Darlow spent a week in hospital while clubs struggle to get players inoculated

Goalkeeper Karl Darlow lost two stone in five days while in hospital with Covid-19. Photo: Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images

Goalkeeper Karl Darlow lost two stone in five days while in hospital with Covid-19. Photo: Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images

 

Steve Bruce has revealed that “a lot” of Newcastle United players have not been vaccinated against Covid-19 and cited “conspiracy theories” as a reason why so many professional footballers are reluctant to get inoculated.

“We’ve got a lot of players who haven’t had the jab,” said the Newcastle manager. “It’s their prerogative. We’ve had two or three players really sick with Covid here and Karl Darlow spent the best part of a week in hospital with it, so we’ve seen the severity of it first hand. But there are a lot of conspiracy theories out there.

“I would urge everybody to get jabbed, and that’s the advice of this country’s top medics, but not everyone’s going to have the same opinion. If you get a group of 20 people you are not all going to have the same opinion.”

Given the stark reality that Darlow lost two stone during the course of five nights in hospital earlier this summer and is still not fit enough to return to the first team squad, the high number of vaccine refuseniks at St James’ Park may seem surprising. However, Bruce is far from the only manager imploring his squad to protect themselves. Ole Gunnar Solskjær has recently spoken of his struggle to convince certain players at Manchester United to have the inoculations and Neil Warnock admitted “the majority” of his Middlesbrough squad had declined invitations to be injected.

Their Newcastle counterpart appreciates it is becoming a widespread problem in football. “We had a meeting of the all the Premier League managers a week or so ago and half the meeting surrounded Covid and how vital it is that people are jabbed,” said Bruce. “A quarter of the people in hospital at the moment are aged under 30 – and that’s simply because they are not having the jab.”

Given that Darlow is regarded as one of Newcastle’s fittest professionals, Bruce was “shocked” by the goalkeeper’s appearance when emerged from hospital having lost almost two stone. His continued absence from first team involvement at a time when the club’s first choice goalkeeper, Martin Dubravaka, is sidelined by a foot injury now complicated by a post surgical infection dictates that Freddie Woodman will once again play in goal at Aston Villa on Saturday.

Woodman had been heading to Bournemouth on loan before Darlow’s illness and could now remain on Tyneside as Bruce contemplates the hitherto “unheard of” potential need to name four goalkeepers – Dubravka, Darlow, Woodman and Mark Gillespie – in the 25-man Premier League squad he must finalise by the end of the month.

Darlow, meanwhile, has told Bruce that, once he feels well enough to do so, he will speak publicly about his experience of Covid and appeal for everyone to get vaccinated. – Guardian

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.