Sheffield United: Concern over defender John Egan ahead of Manchester United clash after defender is withdrawn with injury on Irish duty
Sheffield United face an anxious wait to discover the fitness levels of John Egan after the key defender was injured on Republic of Ireland duty tonight.
Egan was withdrawn at half-time of his country’s key Euro 2020 qualifier against Denmark in Dublin, which Mick McCarthy’s men had to win to qualify for the European Championships automatically.
Martin Braithwaite put the Danes ahead before Matt Doherty’s equaliser set up a frantic finale. But Ireland couldn’t find a winner, and must go through the qualifiers if they are to book their place at the finals next summer.
Of more pressing concern for United and their manager Chris Wilder, though, will be the fitness of Egan, especially with Sunday’s game against Manchester United looming large on the horizon.
The defender suffered a clash of heads with Denmark’s Andreas Cornelius in the first half, while he was also understood to be feeling his calf closer to half-time.
Stevens played 90 minutes against Denmark, setting up Doherty's equaliser with a superb cross, while McGoldrick also played the whole game. Callum Robinson was introduced as a late substitute.
Despite the setback to Ireland’s qualification hopes, meanwhile, Enda Stevens has backed his Republic of Ireland teammate Egan to establish himself as his country’s first-choice centre-half for years to come.
Egan has taken his chance to show McCarthy what he is capable of at international level after Richard Keogh, the Derby County centre-half, suffered a career-threatening knee injury in a car crash involving two of his teammates from Pride Park.
Egan was this week included in an official Premier League team of the season so far, alongside United goalkeeper Dean Henderson and manager Chris Wilder. United went into the latest international break fifth in the top-flight table, and only Leicester City have conceded fewer goals than the Blades.
And Stevens said: “I think the entire back three have been excellent all season.
“We have come up against some good players and they have shut a lot of teams out.
"But we defend as a team and we attack as a team, it is not only the back three.
"The midfield three work their socks off and the strikers do the same. We defend as a unit and we attack as a unit.
“But it is all coming together for Egs with the Irish set-up. It is a position I can really see him cementing over the coming years."