Blackpool boss: Covid vaccinations are up to each player

The percentage of Blackpool’s squad to have been given a Covid vaccination is higher than most other clubs in the EFL.

Wednesday, 15th September 2021, 8:00 am

That’s according to head coach Neil Critchley, who was unable to give a precise number when asked how many members of his squad had been given the jab.

Pool’s head coach says it remains an individual choice for each player and no footballer can be forced into having one.

“I couldn’t tell you how many of them have been vaccinated,” Critchley told The Gazette.

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Blackpool head coach Neil Critchley

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Neil Critchley keeping a close eye on Blackpool's players out on loan at MK Dons...

“If you take it on terms of percentages compared to other clubs, I think we’re higher than most, but it’s purely on an individual basis. It’s up to the individual.

“We can offer our guidance, but you can’t force someone to do something. It’s entirely up to them.

“We’ve obviously had our Covid issues and it’s still prevalent in the country at the moment.

“We’ve actually got a meeting about it with the LMA and the PFA, so it will be interesting to see what their take is on it all.

“That’s where we’re at with it, at the moment.”

Recent reports in the national media have suggested the uptake of the vaccine in the Premier League had been slower than expected.

Last week, England manager Gareth Southgate – who is in touch with officials at every top flight club – described it as “varied”.

Newcastle United boss Steve Bruce, meanwhile, recently confessed “a lot” of his players haven’t had the jab.

“It’s their prerogative,” Bruce said.

“We’ve had two or three players really sick with Covid here and Karl Darlow spent the best part of a week in hospital with it, so we’ve seen the severity of it first-hand.

“There are a lot of conspiracy theories out there.

“I would urge everybody to get jabbed, and that’s the advice of this country’s top medics, but not everyone’s going to have the same opinion.

“If you get a group of 20 people, you are not all going to have the same opinion, but a quarter of the people in hospital at the moment are aged under 30 – and that’s simply because they are not having the jab.”

Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has also admitted many of his players are reluctant to be vaccinated.

The transport secretary, Grant Shapps, said last month that “double vaccination or full vaccination is going to be a feature for evermore, and most countries, probably all countries, will require full vaccination for you to enter”.

This could cause potential problems when players head away on international duty, as they did recently.

The likes of Kenny Dougall, Tyreece John-Jules and Shayne Lavery could also be given call-ups next month, when there’s a second international break of the season.

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