Why Doncaster Rovers striker Tiago Cukur did not go on international duty

Doncaster Rovers loanee Tiago Cukur did not travel for international duty due to Turkey’s red list status.

Saturday, 4th September 2021, 12:00 pm
Tiago Cukur

The striker had been called up by Turkey U21s for European Championship qualifiers against Belgium and Scotland.

Rovers were not keen on the 18-year-old travelling due to the quarantine requirements on his return and sought advice from the EFL.

The EFL clubs decided collectively not to release players who would be playing matches in red list countries, which was in defiance of Fifa directives on the subject.

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Anyone entering the UK from a red list country, or having been in one during the previous ten days, must quarantine in a specially designated hotel for ten days.

Rovers boss Richie Wellens said: “We were waiting for the EFL to come back to us about the rules.

“If Tiago went to Turkey, that is a red country, so if he went and came back, that would mean he’d have to isolate for ten days.

“That would have been the last thing he needs.”

Cukur endured plenty of disruption due to Covid-19 over the summer.

He was forced to isolate in the Netherlands after arriving from Turkey, and then he was required to isolate again after reporting back to parent club Watford.

Soon after his isolation ended, he contracted Covid-19 and was forced to quarantine for another ten days.

The month-long period of isolation impacted upon the striker’s fitness levels - something which he continues to recover from.

Him remaining in Doncaster this week has allowed him to undergo extra fitness work to get him up to speed.

Wellens said: “He’s lost about 7kg and still needs to lose about 4-5kg.

“He’s coming along really well and he’s trained well this week but he still has a way to go.”

Cukur - who was suffering with a calf issue prior to the international break - has played in six of Rovers’ seven games so far this season.

Goalkeeper Pontus Dahlberg was an unused substitute for the senior Sweden side in their impressive 2-1 win over Spain on Thursday.

And Ethan Galbraith captained Northern Ireland U21s against Malta U21s on Friday.

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In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Liam Hoden, editor.