Sheffield United rocked by another injury blow as Enda Stevens withdraws from Republic of Ireland squad

Sheffield United’s Enda Stevens has been withdrawn from the Republic of Ireland squad to face Qatar this week through injury.

Monday, 29th March 2021, 11:42 am

The Blades left back won his latest cap for his country in their 1-0 defeat to Luxembourg and was assessed pre-match, with the decision taken that he would not travel with his Stephen Kenny’s men to Hungary for the friendly against Qatar.

Matt Doherty has also been ruled out after coming off at half-time against Luxembourg, a defeat which saw Ireland’s World Cup qualifying hopes dealt a fresh setback and continued boss Stephen Kenny’s poor start to life in the hotseat.

Ireland sit at the foot of Group A after two rounds of fixtures and with a trip to reigning European champions Portugal next up in September, when they also face Azerbaijan and Serbia at home, things could get worse before they get better.

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Asked if he believes qualification remains a possibility, Kenny replied: "Well, it's only two games out of eight and there's a lot of football to be played.

"We've given ourselves a lot to do, there's no doubt about that. We're unlikely, of course, to win the group, but we still have to try to work hard to try to put ourselves in contention.

"The three games in September will be very important. There will be nine points to play for, so we've just got to try the maximum in that window."

Stevens will be assessed by United’s medical staff ahead of this weekend’s clash against Leeds, but Max Lowe – fresh from a goal in United’s U23 victory over Wednesday last week – may be put on standby to start.

Republic of Ireland's Enda Stevens appears dejected as Luxembourg's Gerson Rodrigues (left) celebrates at the end of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifying match at the Aviva Stadium, in Dublin, Ireland. Brian Lawless/PA Wire.