LONDON (Reuters) – Southampton will be without striker Shane Long for their home Premier League game with West Ham United after he tested positive for COVID-19, manager Ralph Hasenhuettl confirmed on Thursday.
Hasenhuettl, like his fellow top-flight managers, says the international breaks are complicated with players travelling back from far flung destinations.
Throw in the risks posed by COVID-19 and preparations for the return to league action are especially challenging.
“We have a few players who have been travelling a lot. We will have everybody back today except (Shane) Long,” the Austrian said.
“He is in self-isolation in the hotel because of a positive COVID test but the rest will arrive today and I will have a look.”
Long tested positive last week ahead of Ireland’s World Cup qualifier against Portugal and was forced to self-isolate.
Several Premier League clubs could face sanctions if they play their south American players this weekend having not released them to play internationals in “red list” countries.
Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City are among clubs who did not release Brazilian players and Hasenhuettl has sympathy for the clubs.
“It’s a problem to send players all over the world. We have a big problem preparing for the weekend because they are coming back on Thursday so we only have one day and a half,” he said.
“When you have to quarantine you must definitely block players from going somewhere because otherwise you lose them for a long time like the Brazilian and Argentinian players.
“You can imagine for a club what it means. Players want to play internationals for sure and also want to play for a club.”
(Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Toby Davis)