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Massive blow as Irish international stretchered off in Sheffield United's loss to West Ham

John Egan emerged as a serious injury concern for Stephen Kenny as the Hammers won 3-0.

Ireland international John Egan was stretchered off in the closing minutes.
Ireland international John Egan was stretchered off in the closing minutes.

Updated Feb 15th 2021, 8:59 PM

A 3-0 DEFEAT was bad enough, but losing Irish international John Egan to a serious-looking injury compounded the misery for Sheffield United this evening.

A Declan Rice penalty and another goal courtesy of Issa Diop either side of half time, along with a 96th-minute Ryan Fredericks finish, sealed the win for West Ham at London Stadium, and inflicted another blow to the survival hopes of Sheffield United.

It’s looking like the Blades will be without Corkman Egan, who was stretchered off in a leg brace the closing minutes, as their relegation dogfight continues.

“John Egan appears to have sustained a serious foot/leg injury,” the club tweeted, 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.

Not only is it a major blow for Sheffield United, it’s of huge concern to Stephen Kenny’s Republic of Ireland ahead of their World Cup qualifying campaign.

The defender appears to be a big doubt ahead of the Serbia clash in five weeks time. 

Tonight, though, the Hammers made light of not having a recognised striker in their side as as they swatted aside the visitors.

David Moyes’ decision not to bring in a forward on deadline day looked set to come back to haunt him with Michail Antonio, his only senior frontman, ruled out injured.

But with Jesse Lingard providing the attacking menace, goals from  Rice, Diop and Fredericks secured a 3-0 win and kept West Ham in the hunt for an unlikely Champions League place.

West Ham boss Moyes had last week bemoaned the fact his side were the only team in the Premier League to have not been awarded a penalty this season.

His prayers were almost answered after only five minutes when Craig Dawson, following up Rice’s free-kick, was pushed over in the area by Ireland’s Enda Stevens.

Referee Simon Hooper awarded the spot-kick but VAR ruled that Dawson was offside when Rice struck his initial shot.

west-ham-united-v-sheffield-united-premier-league-london-stadium McGoldrick dejected as West Ham celebrate their third goal. Source: PA

Moyes would not have to wait long for his penalty hoodoo to come to an end, however.

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Lingard, back in the team after sitting out at Manchester United in the FA Cup under the terms of his loan deal, was getting a lot of joy in the inside-left position and twice forced good saves from Aaron Ramsdale.

And five minutes before half-time, the former England winger dispossessed Oliver Norwood, raced upfield and exchanged passes with Jarrod Bowen before he was wiped out in the area by an ungainly challenge from Chris Basham.

Lingard wanted to take the penalty but captain Rice pulled rank before tucking away his first goal of the season, and the first spot-kick of his career.

The Blades arrived in London knowing a win would lift them off the foot of the table for the first time since 7 November.

David McGoldrick should have hauled them level with a close-range header, but his weak effort was kept out by a combination of Ben Johnson’s back and Lukasz Fabianski’s hand.

The miss proved costly moments later when Hammers defender Diop was left unmarked to head in Aaron Cresswell’s corner.

It was the eighth time that West Ham have scored from a corner this season, more than any other team. And the eighth time the Blades have conceded from a corner – also a Premier League high.

It was also the 39th goal Chris Wilder’s side had leaked this season, which was as many as they conceded during the whole of their impressive maiden campaign in the top flight.

Egan left the field on a stretcher in the 84th minute, before Hammers substitute Fredericks drilled home in stoppage time to cap another tough night for the embattled Blades.

“It didn’t look too good with the stretcher,” United boss Chris Wilder said afterwards. “He’s on crutches now and that caps a miserable night for us.”

West Ham had Irish duo Mipo Odubeko and Conor Coventry on their bench tonight.

- Updated to amend error and include full report.

Screenshot 2020-11-24 at 9.04.07 AM

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