Blades awaiting Premier League clarification on COVID issue

Egan was forced into self-isolation after coming into close contact with a Republic of Ireland international team-mate who has since tested positive for COVID-19.

The contact took place last Thursday and government rules to limit the spread of the virus mean the players’ 14-day isolation period must start from that date, meaning Egan would miss the Blades’ game against Fulham on Sunday.

This case is understood to be the first of its kind, where players on international duty have been forced into isolation not because of a positive COVID-19 test but because of a close contact with a COVID-positive person.

Whatever ruling the Premier League makes now is likely to set a precedent for any future cases.

Conor Hourihane set for shock Aston Villa exit claim reports

Turkish media claim that the Republic of Ireland international’s agent has been in talks with Super Lig sides Besiktas and Trabzonspor over a potential switch.

Hourihane is set to begin his fifth season at Villa Park, having featured 34 times under Dean Smith last season as the club scrambled to Premier League safety.

Former Chelsea player Eddie Newton is the new Trabzonspor head coach and will no doubt have been aware of the 29-year-old’s influence – perhaps even more so considering Hourihane is out of contract next summer.

Reports claim the player is open to the move, but Turkish media have been known to be unreliable in the past.

Newcastle sign midfielder Jeff Hendrick on a free transfer

The 28-year-old, who was out of contract at Burnley at the end of last season, has joined their Premier League rivals after making 139 appearances for the Clarets.

Hendrick, who was named in the Ireland squad for next month’s Nations League clashes with Bulgaria and Finland on Monday, told NUFC TV: “It’s a massive club and playing over the years, going to the stadium, it’s one of the best stadiums to play in, so I just want to get playing there.

“I’ve had over 100 games in the Premier League, but I want to keep going and keep improving with a different team. It’s going to be different for me, the demands with the bigger stadium, the crowd, how big the club is, so I’ve got to take that on and keep pushing myself and striving to get better.

“I’m looking forward to it – I can’t wait.”

Hendrick to sign for Newcastle in the coming days

The Magpies are set to bring Jeff Hendrick to St James Park within the next few days.

Hendrick turned down a new contract with Burnley and didn’t appear for them when the league restarted.

The Republic of Ireland international has not played since March though it seems he has been keeping fit thanks to help from his brother who is a strength and conditioning coach.

Hendrick will become the club’s second summer signing after Mark Gillespie, also a free agent, joined the club last month.