Neville calls on Covid-hit clubs to 'trust young players'

‘It’s time to get on with it and trust the young players’: Gary Neville joins calls that football matches are being called off ‘TOO EASILY’ for squad Covid cases, as Premier League postponements hit 15

  • 15 Premier League matches and dozens in the EFL have been postponed over the festive period because of positive Covid cases within clubs
  • Both the Premier League and EFL decided to continue playing despite outbreak
  • They said clubs should fulfil fixtures if they have 13 players and a goalkeeper
  • talkSPORT presenter Adrian Durham pointed out squads can number 40 
  • And Gary Neville agreed that matches are being postponed ‘too easily’  

Gary Neville has called on Premier League clubs to ‘get on with it’ and ‘trust their young players’ rather than seek fixture postponements amid the Covid-19 crisis.

15 top-flight matches have been called off this month with the Omicron variant of the virus sweeping through clubs.

Two of Tuesday’s fixtures – Arsenal vs Wolves and Leeds United vs Liverpool – have been postponed despite the Premier League advising clubs they should fulfil their games if they have 13 fit players plus a goalkeeper.

Gary Neville believes matches in the Premier League and EFL are being called off ‘too easily’ because of Covid outbreaks within squads 

Neville responded to a tweet on the subject by talkSPORT presenter Adrian Durham

Durham posted a snippet from guidance sent to clubs about completing games from the EFL

Dozens of matches in the three divisions of the EFL have also been called off, sometimes at short notice, despite the League giving the same guidance.

Former England and Manchester United defender Neville, now a Sky Sports pundit, was responding to a tweet by talkSPORT presenter Adrian Durham.

Durham posted the EFL’s guidance on playing fixtures amid Covid outbreaks, which states: ‘Clubs will be expected to play where it has 14 players including a goalkeeper available from the club’s registered squad list.’

It goes on to say that ‘under-21 players not on the squad list but [who] have played one League match’, or ‘any other contracted player not on the squad list’ will also be eligible to play.

A record 103 positive Covid tests were recorded at Premier League clubs in the latest figures

Durham wrote: ‘Here is @EFL rules on postponing games. Championship 1st team sqd [squad] + U23s = about 40 players. So 26 out?

‘Possible but maybe games being called off too easily, more scrutiny needed. If things aren’t right points should be forfeited and costs paid to club robbed of a home fixture.’

Neville agreed and tweeted in response: ‘No way these clubs can’t get a team out. We’ve seen in the PL when teams requests are rejected they end up playing near on fun strength line-ups.

Crystal Palace looked to get their game at Tottenham postponed, but suffered a 3-0 defeat

‘Time for clubs to get on with it and trust their young players unless in exceptional circumstances.’

Premier League clubs chose to push on and fulfil festive fixtures despite the ongoing Covid disruption.

A record 103 Premier League players and staff tested positive for the virus in the seven days up to and including Boxing Day, according to the latest figures released from 15, 186 tests.

15 games have been called off, including the Liverpool vs Leeds, Wolves vs Watford and Burnley vs Everton fixtures on Boxing Day.

Leeds’ trip to Liverpool was called off on Boxing Day, with Marcelo Bielsa’s side hit by positives

The previous Saturday saw only the match between Leeds and Arsenal go ahead with five games called off amid Covid outbreaks at several clubs.

And despite Durham’s suggestion that Championship clubs could still put out competitive teams, several games have fallen victim.

Four games scheduled for Wednesday and a further one on Thursday have already been called off, with Sheffield United vs Hull City the latest.

Full list of PL postponements 

December 12

Brighton vs Tottenham

December 14

Brentford vs Manchester United

December 15

Burnley vs Watford

December 16

Leicester vs Tottenham

December 18

Aston Villa vs Burnley

Manchester United vs Brighton 

Southampton vs Brentford 

Watford vs Crystal Palace

West Ham vs Norwich

December 19

Everton vs Leicester

December 26

Burnley vs Everton

Liverpool vs Leeds

Wolves vs Watford

December 28

Arsenal vs Wolves

Leeds vs Aston Villa


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