Manchester United interim manager Ralf Rangnick has joined other Premier League bosses in expressing hesitancy about signing unvaccinated players in the future.
Unvaccinated players are not only at risk of becoming more seriously ill if they test positive for Covid-19, but there are also additional quarantine implications as rules in England dictate that self-isolation in the event of close contact with a positive case is not necessary if fully vaccinated.
Currently, if an unvaccinated player is identified as a close contact of someone else in the squad who has tested positive, they must immediately self-isolate for ten days. Those who are double-jabbed, however, don’t need to unless they later go on to test positive themselves.
Professional footballers on the whole have been criticised for a perceived reluctance to get vaccinated – a recent survey found that 25% of EFL players have no intention to. But while Rangnick supports the freedom of thinking, he is worried about bringing anyone into the United squad who could be at risk of repeated periods of self-isolation.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is the most obvious example of another Premier League manager who is strongly in favour of Covid-19 vaccines and has ruled out signing unvaccinated players.
“I think it could be a consideration and I fully understand what Jurgen said. But it also depends if you want to sign a player and risk him not being available. This is an issue the clubs seriously have to think about,” Rangnick explained at length, via Manchester Evening News.
“If you sign a player knowing from the very first day that he has not been vaccinated, you have to be aware that he might not be available – not only for ten days, but this could happen regularly in Covid times.
“Those are the regulations, this is the case and, as I said, it may not just happen once, it could happen several times in the future and therefore it should also be in the interest of players to be vaccinated. But, as I said, in the end it’s a decision that each club has to take by themselves and find the best possible solution.
“You had the example of Joshua Kimmich, who was extremely hesitant at the beginning and I think in the meantime he has realised it might be a good idea to get vaccinated. He caught Covid, he still has some problems with his lungs. Hopefully, he’ll be back after Christmas in the new year at full strength and can play again for Bayern Munich.
“I think this is an issue where of course everybody can and should have his free will but I think in football, especially at this level we are playing at, we need to try to convince our players to get vaccinated.
“And to be honest, I don’t know which of our players have had two or three vaccinations. This is a question that only our medical department could answer but I know from our medical department that our ratio of vaccinated players is above the average of the Premier League.”
United recently had two games postponed as a result of a Covid-19 outbreak in the squad but will play for the first time in 16 days when they travel to Newcastle on Monday night.