Browne tests positive for coronavirus after England game
Alan Browne has become the latest Republic of Ireland player to test positive for coronavirus following Thursday night’s friendly against England.
The 25-year-old Preston midfielder, who played the full 90 minutes in a 3-0 defeat at Wembley, has not been isolated from the rest of the squad ahead of the Nations League trip to Wales on Sunday and the home clash with Bulgaria which follows it with no member of the party having been identified as a close contact.
However, the PA news agency understands England will be unaffected and will be able to continue their preparations for their own Nations League fixtures against Belgium and Iceland as the Return to Play protocol is designed to legislate for such occurrences.
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Browne’s positive test was confirmed by the Football Association of Ireland on Friday morning.
A statement said: “The Football Association of Ireland can confirm Ireland midfielder Alan Browne has tested positive for COVID-19.
“The player has been isolated from the group as per COVID-19 protocols, and the HSE and UEFA have been informed of this development.
“There are no close contacts of the player and the rest of the staff & squad tested negative ahead of Sunday’s UEFA Nations League fixture against Wales in Cardiff.”
West Brom striker Callum Robinson missed the England game after also testing positive having been one of four men – Browne, John Egan and Callum O’Dowda were the others – to sit out last month’s matches against Wales and Finland as close contacts of an unnamed player who had suffered the same fate.
That came just days after Aaron Connolly, who had been selected to start, and substitute Adam Idah had been withdrawn from the squad hours before the Euro 2020 play-off semi-final in Slovakia after sitting too close to a member of staff who later returned a positive test on the flight to Bratislava.
Ireland ultimately lost the tie, which would have booked a winner-takes-all battle with Northern Ireland for a ticket to the rescheduled finals, on penalties.
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To make matters worse, it was later revealed that the pair could have played after all with the test in question having provided a false positive.