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Manchester United game called off at last minute after former Newcastle United striker tests positive

1 month ago
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Manchester United were forced to cancel a planned friendly match at the very last minute on Tuesday.

Premier League and Championship clubs having been given the go ahead to play friendly matches to help in the build up to resuming competitive games later this month.

BBC Sport report that the Stoke City players and management had already arrived at the Manchester United Carrington training base and were in the academy building, when the decision had to be made to cancel the planned friendly.

The cause of this was due to the travelling Stoke City party being informed that manager and former Newcastle striker, Michael O’Neill, had tested positive for the virus.

The latest round of testing for the Championship club having taken place on Monday and the positive test only becoming known yesterday (Tuesday).

Michael O’Neill had tested negative in the previous five rounds of testing but will now follow the relevant guidance and have a period of isolation.

The Championship club also confirmed on Tuesday that O’Neill will be in regular virtual contact with his coaching staff and players.

Best of luck to Michael O’Neill in his recovery after this positive virus test, hopefully it will prove asymptomatic.

Assistant manager Billy McKinlay will now take charge of preparation as Stoke get ready for their opening game of the restart against Reading on 20 June,

Former Newcastle star O’Neill (joined NUFC as a teenager in October 1987 and was top scorer with 13 goals in 22 games in 1987/88 playing alongside Gazza and Mirandinha) took on the Stoke City job in November 2019 with the club rock bottom of the Championship, they are now seven places higher in 17th and three points above the relegation zone.

As many Premier League clubs are playing friendlies against Championship clubs (Newcastle beat Middlesbrough 3-2 on Tuesday), they will of course be coming into contact with a lot more people from outside what had become their normal bubble of teammates and staff, as well as family at home.

Premier League bosses will be hoping this doesn’t lead to any kind of issues with increased numbers of virus cases. The latest (sixth) set of testing showed zero positives from 1,195 tests, whilst the last three rounds of PL testing have shown only one positive from 3,522 tests.

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