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COVID CHAOS Matt Doherty and James McClean become the latest Ireland players to test positive for Covid-19


Matt Doherty of Ireland

Matt Doherty of Ireland


Matt Doherty of Ireland

Matt Doherty and James McClean have become the latest Ireland players to test positive for Covid-19, plunging manager Stephen Kenny's plans into fresh chaos ahead of Wednesday's Nations League game against Bulgaria in Dublin.

Tottenham full-back Doherty and Stoke winger McClean will now self-isolate and will be absent for their club games next weekend.

"The Football Association of Ireland can confirm Ireland defender Matt Doherty and forward James McClean have tested positive for COVID-19," read an FAI statement.

"The players have been isolated from the group as per COVID-19 protocols, and the HSE have been informed of this development.

"The rest of the staff & squad tested negative ahead of the flight back to Dublin this morning before the UEFA Nations League match against Bulgaria on Wednesday."

The latest two positive tests leaves Kenny with a threadbare squad heading into the Bulgaria game, with the need for him to find a way to serve up a positive result now pressing.

His Ireland side have failed to score in their last six matches and he has failed to win any of his first seven matches in the senior role, with Roy Keane among those piling the pressure on the former Dundalk boss.

"The manager would expect to be under pressure now," Keane told ITV. "If that was (Giovanni) Trapattoni or Martin O'Neill, great managers with great CVs, then the current manager should be expected now to be heavily criticised.

"It's tough going for Ireland. This manager has done a lot of talking over the last few years because obviously he knew two or three years ago that he was going to get the job, but the style of play he wants to play with the team, the players are not good enough.

"The lack that belief at international level. I look at them every week and what they are doing at club level and none of them are winning games at club level. So they are finding it very difficult to bring that quality to international level.

"Lack of goals is a huge concern and there are huge problems for Ireland, huge problems."

Four players have been called into the Republic of Ireland squad Bulgaria game, with Shamrock Rovers duo Graham Burke and Aaron McEneff come into the squad as well as U-21 duo Troy Parrott and Jack Taylor.

Jeff Hendrick has been ruled out of the Bulgaria through suspension due to his red card against Wales. Jayson Molumby has also been suspended as he picked up his second yellow card of the UEFA Nations League campaign.

Forward Adam Idah has also been ruled out of the Bulgaria match through injury and has returned to his club.

Online Editors