Callum Robinson is out of Ireland’s World Cup qualifiers against Portugal and Azerbaijan after his third brush with Covid-19.
The striker’s club West Brom confirmed tonight the in-form striker had contracted the virus for the second time during the pandemic
A statement prior to their Carabao Cup game against Arsenal read: “The gaffer has confirmed David Button and Callum Robinson miss out on tonight’s game having contracted Covid-19. Both players will complete a period of self-isolation at home.”
Robinson — who scored in the Baggies’ first three Championship games — missed last November’s internationals against England, Wales, and Finland after testing positive for the virus. He was asymptomatic and his repeat test back at the club delivered a negative outcome. Robinson had also been deemed a close contact of a teammate’s confirmed case a month earlier — putting him out of the Uefa Nations League matches against Finland and Wales.
The Baggies striker’s goal blitz back in the Championship had made him favourite to lead the line in Faro but he won’t be on the plane to the Algarve this Sunday.
Presuming the 26-year-old received his test results on Wednesday, his 10-day isolation period under UK rules runs up to Saturday, September 4, the day Ireland host Azerbaijan at Aviva Stadium.
His only prospect of participation is for the last assignment of the triple-header, at home to Serbia on September 7, but that will depend on his health and involvement in training. To illustrate his cruel luck, missing another two games will bring to seven the number of matches coronavirus deprived Robinson involvement in Kenny’s first 15 games at the helm.
In his absence, one of Southampton’s forwards, Shane Long or Michael Obafemi, could make Thursday’s panel. Both got their first minutes of the season last night when introduced for the last half in the 8-0 Carabao Cup hammering of Newport County.
Obafemi has yet to feature under the Ireland manager, his annoyance at being snubbed for the first squad this time last year laid bare by a social media post he later deleted.
The striker — whose sole senior cap came in Martin O’Neill’s final match in charge in 2018 — is up for sale and will probably join a new club by transfer deadline day next Tuesday.
Another option who could emerge as a late contender is Will Keane. It’s understood the striker, who also switched allegiance from England, has been informed of a potential call-up. He is currently at Wigan, the League One club James McClean rejoined last week, and has scored once this season.