Gareth Southgate may axe England stars due to unvaxxed players missing Iran tie

Gareth Southgate could reportedly leave out several players from his England World Cup squad due to their refusal to be vaccinated.

The England manager is allowed to take a squad of 26 players to the Qatar 2022 World Cup, but a number of players in the regular England camp are yet to take their Covid-19 jabs. That could spell trouble due to current regulations meaning they will have to self-isolate for five days upon arrival in the Middle-Eastern country.

England's first World Cup clash will be against Iran on November 21, which The Daily Mail reports is just six days after their arrival in Qatar. That means any self-isolating player will likely miss the crucial game as a result of having barely trained with the rest of the squad.

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The Mail claims Southgate will therefore have to leave some players out of his squad entirely, giving the manager an unneeded dilemma as he looks to win England their first World Cup since 1966.

It would be a continuation of what some English clubs have already had to do for their pre-season tours. Chelsea and Crystal Palace, for example, had to leave several players behind as they took to the USA and Australia respectively.

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Palace in particular were only able to take 10 senior players to Singapore and Australia due to crucial players like Wilfried Zaha, Eberechi Eze, Marc Guehi and Michael Olise all not being fully vaccinated.

Other national teams could also face similar problems, with French World Cup winner N'Golo Kante being another unvaccinated star. But England's situation is believed to be more difficult given that they will play on the opening day of the tournament.

Meanwhile, FIFA are understood to be lobbying for Qatar to relax its Covid vaccination rules for the prestigious competition.


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