Sheffield United will be without key central defender John Egan for around eight weeks after he dislocated his toe in the closing stages of the 3-0 Premier League defeat to West Ham.
The 28-year-old has been one of the Blades’ most reliable players in what has been a difficult second season back in the top flight, but he was unable to complete the game in east London after challenging Jesse Lingard for the ball late on.
Egan immediately signalled to the bench while clutching his foot, seeking immediate help for an impact injury that appeared to cause the Irishman’s foot to be jarred at an awkward angle.
After the game, manager Chris Wilder was unable to give a definitive update on Egan’s condition, but he’s now confirmed that the Irishman will be ruled out for a significant period of time and will need to undergo surgery to correct the problem.
“It’s a big blow to lose him for eight weeks,” Wilder said, speaking in his press conference before the weekend game with relegation rivals Fulham. “I do feel we’ve been cursed with injuries. I feel for the medical staff, they’ve been outstanding for two or three years.
“We’ve had John Fleck falling and breaking his back, Jack O’Connell colliding with Dean Henderson, Oli McBurnie falling and hurting his shoulder and now John Egan hurting himself making a tackle.”
Egan’s prolonged absence is another major bump in the road as Sheffield United attempt to battle back from an appalling start and stave off relegation.
Until now, Egan had missed just three games in all competitions this season and, despite results being poor for the most part, has often been the man looked to for inspiration in the centre of defence.
His absence isn’t just a blow for Sheffield United, it’s also far from ideal news for the Republic of Ireland, who will almost certainly be without Egan for their upcoming World Cup qualifiers in March. It won’t be the first time that manager Stephen Kenny has been unable to call on him, however, after he was ruled out of the October internationals after returning a positive COVID-19 test.