Sheffield United are currently uncertain whether Robin Olsen will be able to make his Bramall Lane debut this weekend due to Covid-19 rules, according to the Sheffield Star.
As per manager Slavisa Jokanovic, the Swedish international was due to fly to England from Greece last night after linking up with his national team for three World Cup qualifiers.
Greece has been listed as an ‘amber’ country by the UK government, meaning Robin Olsen won’t need to self-isolate for ten days unless he hasn’t had two doses of the vaccine, although the fact he’s even in contention for a start could suggest he’s already had his double dose back in Italy with parent club AS Roma.
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However, the shot-stopper will still need to do a test two days after arriving back in England to get the all-clear – and with their clash against Peterborough United scheduled to take place at 3pm tomorrow – this means he may only be able to get the relevant Covid clearance just a matter of hours before his potential debut.
Although the 31-year-old spent much of his time behind Jordan Pickford at Everton last season, he has been brought in as first-choice this time around to replace Aaron Ramsdale who moved to Arsenal in a deal worth up to £30m last month, already leapfrogging the likes of Wes Foderingham and Michael Verrips in the pecking order.
And as per the Sheffield Star, it’s the former who is expected to come in for Olsen if he is unable to make his debut tomorrow afternoon.
Just for this weekend, it might be worth giving Foderingham one last start between the sticks for a while just to allow Olsen to settle into his new surroundings and recover from his time on international duty with Sweden.
The situation would be a lot different had Foderingham been shaky, but he seems to be a reliable understudy for Olsen and would be prepared to step up if he’s needed during the season, which he might be considering the risk of injury.
The Swedish shot-stopper might be top-quality and something of a coup in the Championship – but starting him straight away just seems like a disaster waiting to happen and that could knock his confidence for the remainder of his time at Bramall Lane. In the Blades’ current situation with their poor start to the season, this would be catastrophic.
Man management will be key in this situation and with fellow new signings Conor Hourihane and Morgan Gibbs-White both likely to be involved, easing Olsen back into life in England wouldn’t be the worst idea.
A spot on the bench would suffice for tomorrow’s game, but it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see the goalkeeper become a huge asset for the South Yorkshire side throughout the 2021/22 campaign.