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Dublin: 11°C Friday 16 April 2021

Steve McClaren rests first-team regular to observe Jewish holiday, then brings him on

The QPR manager kept Tomer Hemed on the bench for the start of their Championship clash with Millwall.

QPR's Tomer Hemed (right).
QPR's Tomer Hemed (right).
Image: Clint Hughes

FORMER ENGLAND MANAGER Steve McClaren was left with an unusual dilemma as he prepared to name his starting XI to face Millwall at Loftus Road last night.

The current QPR boss had hoped to include first-team regular Tomer Hemed in his line-up but discovered that the Israeli international was observing the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur.

The holiday, celebrated by Jews around the world, involves intensive prayer and fasting.

“He follows the Jewish religion meticulously,” McClaren told Sky Sports before kick-off on Wednesday evening. “Today is Yom Kippur, which is Day of Atonement.

“He’s been fasting since 8pm last night until it finishes at 8pm tonight. We had a chat and he told me it would be very difficult to start.

It’s very usual because Yom Kippur hardly falls on a game day, but it has this time. We’re hoping to get some food into him in the first half, keep him on the bench and if we need him in the second half he can play some minutes.”

Hemed had featured in QPR’s previous three Championship games where the London side went unbeaten and conceded just one goal to help them climb to 16th in the table.

The Brighton & Hove Albion loanee joined McClaren’s side in August and has scored once in his four appearances for the club.

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And the 31-year-old, who lined out for Israel in their international defeats against Northern Ireland and Albania, did get some game time as predicted by McClaren. After quickly refuelling, he came on with 72 minutes played to replace another loanee, Burnley’s Nahki Wells, up front.

The game was very much QPR’s to lose by that stage, with goals from Massimo Luongo and Eberechi Eze securing the points for the home side.

Millwall left Loftus Road empty-handed and are now without a win in their last five league outings, hovering just one point above the relegation zone.

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