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Ireland defender Egan to miss opening World Cup qualifiers as injury lay-off confirmed

Sheffield United say the Corkman will be out for eight weeks with a dislocated toe.

John Egan was stretchered off on Monday night.
John Egan was stretchered off on Monday night.
Image: PA

IRELAND INTERNATIONAL JOHN Egan is facing into an eight-week lay-off with a dislocated toe, Sheffield United have confirmed.

The injury rules Egan out of Ireland’s World Cup qualifiers against Serbia and Luxembourg next month, and the majority of Sheffield United’s Premier League season run-in.

It’s a massive blow for both club and country, as the 20th-placed Blades’ relegation dogfight continues at rock bottom of the Premier League. 

“Chris Wilder has confirmed this morning that John Egan will be out for 8 weeks with a dislocated toe,” the club wrote on Twitter this morning. “Get well soon, Egs.”

In a press conference, Wilder confirmed that the defender would undergo an operation:

Egan was stretchered off in the closing minutes of Sheffield United’s 3-0 defeat to West Ham on Monday night, after blocking a Jesse Lingard shot. 

“John Egan appears to have sustained a serious foot/leg injury,” the club tweeted at the time, alongside a picture. “Get well soon, John.”

“John Egan leaves the field on a stretcher, in a leg brace, after blocking Lingard’s shot. He knew he was in trouble straightaway, and it doesn’t look great,” Sheffield United writer for the Sheffield Star, Danny Hall, wrote.

“It didn’t look too good with the stretcher,” United boss Chris Wilder said afterwards.

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“He’s on crutches now and that caps a miserable night for us. He’s a tough Irish boy so for him to stick his hand up wasn’t a good sign.”

The Corkman now misses out on the opening games of Ireland’s World Cup qualifying campaign; Stephen Kenny’s side facing into a crucial game away against second seeds Serbia on 24 March, before welcoming Luxembourg to Dublin three days later.

The 28-year-old is a firm favourite of Kenny’s – the boss often hailing his comfort on the ball and ability to play out from the back – but he has endured a stop-start international career of late.

Egan started just four of the Boys In Green’s eight games under Kenny, injury setbacks and his status as a Covid-19 close contact hampering his progress. A head injury also saw him substituted in the early stages of the friendly defeat to England in Wembley.

Ireland now face a defensive dilemma over the coming weeks, with Shane Duffy experiencing a difficult run at Celtic, and Ciaran Clark, Kevin Long and Dara O’Shea the alternative options.

Screenshot 2020-11-24 at 9.04.07 AM

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Emma Duffy

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