Iceland furious as Premier League stars Gylfi Sigurdsson and Gudmundsson miss England Nations League matchAugust 29, 2020
ICELAND are fuming after their two Premier League stars refused to play against England.
Everton’s Gylfi Sigurdsson and Burnley’s Johann Berg Gudmundsson have made themselves unavailable for the Uefa Nations League clash in Reykjavik next Saturday.
The midfield duo will also miss Iceland’s trip to Belgium three days later.
Iceland coach Erik Hamren said: “Due to their situation at the clubs, they have chosen not to come.
“They have been honest with me and told me the situation they have and the reason they have taken this sad decision.
“They really wanted to play for Iceland and are not feeling good but still need to do it.
“Of course I am not happy with this. I have to accept it.”
If I look at the individual situations, I can understand. But I have glasses for the team and, as I said, I am not happy.
Sigurdsson, 30, has decided to stay with Everton, who face Spurs in their Premier League opener on September 13.
Gudmundsson, 29, has opted not to play — although Burnley’s game against Manchester United has been postponed.
The Clarets do not play until a trip to Leicester on September 19.
Iceland will be without their five best players next weekend.
Former Cardiff star Aron Gunnarsson has been blocked from travelling under new Fifa rules by his Qatari club Al Arabi, while Augsburg’s Alfred Finnbogason also made himself unavailable and Copenhagen ace Ragnar Sigurdsson is crocked.
Swede Hamren, who named Millwall attacker Jon Dadi Bodvarsson in his squad yesterday, added: “If I look at the individual situations, I can understand.
“But I have glasses for the team and, as I said, I am not happy.
“Many people in the world have and are still having tough times with this Covid virus so I have no rights to complain.”
England will be keen to avoid another upset by Iceland, who knocked them out of Euro 2016 in Nice.
Assistant coach Freyr Alexandersson said: “Gareth Southgate has done a fantastic job with this team and they will show up with their strongest squad. That is good.
“We want to play the best at their strongest. That’s how we learn.”
But the game is also proving to be a nightmare for Three Lions' boss Southgate.
Five of his squad tested positive for Covid-19, although some are expected to have recovered and be ready to report for training at St George’s Park on Monday.
Southgate will make a final decision over who to withdraw tomorrow.
This includes Manchester United striker Marcus Rashford, who is likely to miss out with an ankle problem.
England fly to Reykjavik on Friday for the match at 5pm on Saturday.
They will remain there for an extra day before heading to Denmark on September 7 for their clash 24 hours later.
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