Pat Nevin has slammed Premier League footballers for refusing their Covid jabs after hearing that two thirds of top-flight stars have not been vaccinated.
The ex-Chelsea and Scotland star said he was ‘infuriated’ and ‘upset’ to hear about the percentage of players who have not been jabbed, when ‘everyone’s bent over to get football back on’.
It was revealed last week by Sportsmail that only seven of the 20 clubs have squads where 50 per cent or more of the players are fully vaccinated.
England boss Gareth Southgate has pleaded with England stars to take the Covid jabs for the benefit of society, with reports that five of his players have refused the vaccination.
Most players have refused to comment on their vaccination status, although England striker Tammy Abraham confirmed he has had the jab on Wednesday. Three Lions defender Fikayo Tomori said it was a ‘private matter’.
Nevin, speaking on Football Daily on BBC Sounds, was furious reaction after hearing how many players have not been vaccinated.
Ex-Chelsea and Scotland star Pat Nevin said he is ‘massively disappointed’ that two thirds of Premier League stars have not been double vaccinated
Some of England’s senior stars have rejected the vaccine – there is no suggestion that any of the players pictured above have not been jabbed
Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate has urged his players to get vaccinated against Covid-19
Nevin said: ‘It absolutely infuriates me. The percentage you mentioned earlier about professional footballers not being vaccinated. ‘(I’m) A, Shocked, B, massively disappointed.
‘Football players, particularly in the in the Premier League have had so many benefits over this period of time.
‘Everyone’s bent over backwards to get football back on and of course football’s done a lot of good things for people during the pandemic, who needed something to do and watched the game and they put themselves out.
‘But to not then be vaccinated and help secure other people’s safety as well as their own. I have to say I’m gobsmacked. I’m really upset about it.’
England manager Southgate, ahead of the September squad announcement for their upcoming World Cup qualifiers, said he received more abuse for encouraging young players to get the jab than for England losing the Euro 2020 final to Italy.
He said the response had made him think twice about talking about the matter.
When asked if that was why players have said that getting vaccinated is a ‘personal matter,’ Nevin responded: ‘If they want to say that they can say that but if that percentage is right with that many players are unvaccinated – it’s unthinkable.
‘By the way, if you’re out there go and abuse me as much as you like because I could not care less.
Tammy Abraham (left) confirmed he has been fully jabbed, while Fikayo Tomori (right) refused to comment, saying it’s a ‘personal matter’
Republic of Ireland’s Callum Robinson was the first high-profile player to confirm he had refused the jab – despite contracting Covid twice
‘I’m so upset the fact that the scientists and medics have worked so hard, people have put themselves in danger so much over a period of time and for large groups of certain parts of society, professional footballers not doing it, not joining in what is for the public good I find very very upsetting.
‘There may in the midst of it be religious reasons for some people and I can get that. I find that very upsetting and any players who have not been double vaccinated and refused it and then want to get special treatment for going abroad and playing in games – don’t give them it, full stop.’
‘Very upset, lot of people that have died, lot of people have been very ill and we should all be doing our bit within society to help as much as we possibly can and I know there are different view points out there.’
England’s players this week gathered at St George’s Park ahead of their World Cup qualifiers against Andorra and Hungary.
AC Milan defender Tomori, back in the England squad for the first time since before the pandemic began, said: ‘Personally I haven’t had any conversations about the vaccinations or anything like that. Just because it’s a personal thing.
Southgate previously said he received more abuse for encouraging the jab than for England’s Euro 2020 final loss to Italy
‘I’m not going to ask if you’re going to take the vaccine or not. It’s not something that we’re really talking about.
‘The thing everyone is talking about is, “Oh if I go here do you have to do this and that?'”‘
Tomori kept his vaccination status to himself and repeatedly said the decision was a ‘personal issue’ for individuals.
Ex-Chelsea team-mate Abraham, who is also back in the squad, confirmed he had been vaccinated against coronavirus but was reluctant to be drawn on the matter.
‘It is a personal choice,’ the Roma striker said. ‘People are entitled to do what they want to do with their bodies.
‘For me it was a different situation. I am vaccinated. That is a personal choice.’
Asked if it was because of his asthmatic dad, Abraham added: ‘No. A personal thing for me.
‘I have contracted the virus before, I am in Italy and for me it is the right thing to do. Everyone is entitled to do what they want to do and what is personal to them.’
Premier League stars have been urged to get their jab during the international break – there is no suggestion that any of the Manchester United players pictured have refused their jab
Republic of Ireland international Callum Robinson admitted he chose not to be vaccinated against Covid-19 despite being hit by the virus twice, becoming the first high-profile footballer to admit so.
The 26-year-old West Brom striker who plays in the Championship, had already missed games for his country as a close contact, first tested positive in November last year and then again in August, meaning he had to sit out last month’s World Cup qualifiers.
Asked if he had been vaccinated, he replied: ‘I haven’t been vaccinated, no. That’s my choice at this moment in time.
‘It’s obviously annoying that I’ve caught it twice but I haven’t been vaccinated. Further down the line I could change my mind and want to do it, but at this moment in time I haven’t been vaccinated, no.’
Asked why, Robinson, who played in the Premier League last season added: ‘I just haven’t, I just haven’t done it. I think it’s your personal choice and my choice at this moment in time, I haven’t been vaccinated.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp could not understand why so many players have not been jabbed
‘I know, as you said, there are managers and people that will want you to do it, which is right in their way, the way they think, but everyone has their choice on what they want to do. I wouldn’t force people to do it, it’s your choice and your body.’
Robinson’s statement comes days after Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said he could not understand why there is a reluctance among Premier League players to be vaccinated against Covid-19.
Klopp said 99 per cent of Liverpool players have been vaccinated and he did not have to convince anyone to do so.
‘I got the vaccination because I was concerned about myself but even more so for everyone else around me,’ Klopp said.
‘If I get it and suffer – my fault. If I get it and spread it around to everyone else – my fault and not their fault.’
Premier League players are being encouraged to get vaccinated while on international duty in what could develop into a clash between club and country.
The two-week international break is being viewed as an opportunity to increase vaccination rates by some clubs, causing tension with international federations reluctant to lose players for World Cup qualifiers.
The FA have indicated their willingness to facilitate vaccination among the England squad by taking them to appointments if required, but they do not have a vaccination centre at St George’s Park.