Cal-ing the shots | 

Callum Robinson is still not vaccinated as Kenny rules out 'radical' exclusion

'I haven’t been vaccinated, no. That’s my choice at this moment in time. It’s obviously annoying that I’ve caught it twice but I haven’t been vaccinated'

Callum Robinson during a Republic of Ireland press conference

Daniel McDonnell

Callum Robinson has admitted he is one of the Ireland players who have declined to take the Covid-19 vaccine.

The West Brom player missed games last November and last month because of positive tests, yet that has not affected his stance on not taking the jab – although he has refused to rule out doing so in the future.

Stephen Kenny has stated he would prefer if all of his squad were double vaccinated as it’s the most “sensible” and “safest” course of action but said it would be “radical and complex” to exclude players who took the opposite view.

Covid issues have caused a raft of problems for Kenny during his time in the job but a significant number of his squad – he indicated the contingent was low double figures – are not fully vaccinated. Robinson hasn’t received any dose, although he declined to expand on his reasons.

“I haven’t been vaccinated, no. That’s my choice at this moment in time,” he said. “It’s obviously annoying that I’ve caught it twice but I haven’t been vaccinated.

“Further down the line I could change my mind and want to do it but at this moment in time I haven’t been vaccinated, no.

“I know as you said there are managers and people that will want you to do it which is right in their way, the way they think but everyone has their choice and what they want to do. I wouldn’t force people to do it, it’s your choice and your body. If things change and I want to get vaccinated I will do it but at this moment in time I haven’t made that decision.”

Kenny was subsequently asked about Robinson’s comments and spoke generally about the broader opposition to the idea which appears to exist within sections of football.

Jurgen Klopp was vocal on the matter last weekend, and said the Liverpool squad and staff were 99pc vaccinated.

Closer to home, Shamrock Rovers boss Stephen Bradley has stated that the entire playing squad and coaching staff at the League of Ireland champions will be fully vaccinated as soon as one last remaining player gets his second dose. of the vaccine.

But that is not the picture within the Ireland dressing-room and Kenny acknowledges it’s a challenging subject.

“I trust the medical experts and they recommend that it gets done. It makes it a safer environment for everyone,” said Kenny. “But we’re not in a position where we can insist on it and we have to respect individuals’ rights as well. That is something that we have to learn to live with.”

“There are various theories that people have and so forth. You might not agree with them but people have a point of view. That’s where it is,” continued Kenny, who was asked if either he or the FAI should be making it mandatory as a condition for selection.

“I think it would be quite a radical viewpoint to just say, ‘Right, whoever is not vaccinated is not being selected in the future’. I’m not aware of anybody who has done this in any sport. at the moment,” he replied.

“People have only been double vaccinated in the last six months so it has been a big learning curve for everyone.

“I was very happy to be [vaccinated] myself and encouraged staff and players. Of course it seems like the most sensible thing to do, and the safest with regard to our environment. There are a lot of myths and a lot of issues around virility that people are concerned about and other issues, you know,

“So for me to just come and decide that would be extremely radical. That would be a very strong and complex stand to take.”

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