Louise Taylor on 8 January 2021
Steve Bruce believes it is “morally wrong” to continue playing elite-level football in the midst of the accelerating pandemic but fully understands the financial imperatives behind the Premier League’s desire to keep going.
“Financially it’s right to play on,” Newcastle United’s manager said. “But, morally, for me it’s probably wrong.”
Newcastle are just emerging from a Covid outbreak which affected at least 19 players and staff members. Although the majority suffered relatively mild symptoms, two of the backroom staff became, in Bruce’s words, “very poorly” and two first-teamers, Jamaal Lascelles and Allan Saint-Maximin, have been sidelined by the virus and its after-affects since late November.
Whereas Lascelles, Bruce’s captain, is in contention to return in the FA Cup at Arsenal on Saturday, Saint-Maximin is likely to remain sidelined for some weeks after returning to England following a period of convalescence in France.
“The speed which it hit our club within a week and ripped through everyone was scary,” said Bruce. “It’s difficult to contain and it leaves people sick. Jamaal has been give the go-ahead [to play again] by the doctors so it’s now just about he feels but Allan is going to take time. There’s so many symptoms and problems after the virus it’s been difficult”