Sunday 20 January 2019

‘Serious’ knee injury huge blow for Brady

Dubliner facing lengthy lay-off as Burnley boss braced for bad news

Robbie Brady is challenged by Harry Maguire of Leicester City in the incident that led to the Ireland international being carried off on a stretcher during the Premier League match at The King Power Stadium. Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Robbie Brady is challenged by Harry Maguire of Leicester City in the incident that led to the Ireland international being carried off on a stretcher during the Premier League match at The King Power Stadium. Photo: GETTY IMAGES
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

Robbie Brady is facing a long spell on the sidelines after sustaining a serious knee injury in Burnley’s defeat to Leicester on Saturday.

The Dubliner was left stricken following a tackle by Harry Maguire that cut off a Brady incursion into the penalty area at the King Power Stadium.

Both players went down after the collision, but it soon became apparent that the Irishman was not suffering from a normal knock and play was delayed for several minutes while a leg brace was fitted.

The 25-year-old was taken to hospital and his manager Sean Dyche admitted afterwards that it didn’t look good.

“We’re waiting on news but we think it’s more serious than not serious,” said Dyche, and Burnley have yet to provide clarity on the extent of the setback.

An update is expected early this week but the club was not in a position to provide a firm bulletin on the prognosis yesterday.

This is a story that would have been huge for Ireland if they had qualified for next summer’s World Cup in Russia. In the worst-case scenario, Brady will be out until next season.

But with no major tournament summer on the horizon, there’s a fair chance that the versatile player will be back in the shake-up for Ireland’s next competitive game of substance.


However, it is a desperate blow for the individual given that he had responded to the disappointment of the Danish defeat by shining for his club.

Brady scored a wonderful individual goal against Bournemouth last week and looked to be really settling into life the Clarets.

It has been a turbulent couple of years for the ex-Manchester United trainee at club level as back-to-back relegations with Hull and Norwich meant that he had to pack his bags and move on again.

The switch to Burnley last January for a club record fee – believed to be in the region of £13m – gave him another top-flight opportunity. And while he marked his first start with a superb free-kick against Chelsea, it took him a while to really get into his stride at Turf Moor.

Things have gone better for him at club level in his first full season at the club with Brady generally used in a wide role and this unfortunate injury will check his momentum.

“It’s a blow because Robbie has been excellent lately. Some of his deliveries (on Saturday) were excellent and he’s settled into the team nicely,” said Dyche.

“He’s a good character in the group and he’s been building with his performances.”

In truth, the only consolation for Brady is that his side’s performances this season already look to have put them in a position where relegation is out of the question – although they did suffer a defeat at Leicester with an early strike from Demarai Gray the difference.

It means that if Brady does find out that he’s facing a lengthy lay-off, he can do so in the knowledge that he will be coming back into a Premier League environment when he does recover.

Brady has found it hard to replicate his Euro 2016 performances in a green shirt and his friend and club colleague Jeff Hendrick has also struggled to hit the French heights.

Ireland’s friendlies in the March and May international windows will offer Martin O’Neill scope to experiment and in an ideal world he would use the games to try and find the best way to accommodate Brady and Hendrick in his side going forward – especially with a number of senior players expected to hang up their boots.

However, he may have to plan without Brady for that process. He’s the second Irish player in the space of a week to be booked in for surgery with Bristol City’s Callum O’Dowda undergoing treatment for an ankle problem that has halted his gallop.

The emergence of Declan Rice is one angle of Irish interest for the New Year. He impressed at centre-half in West Ham’s valiant effort at Manchester City, although he was unable to avert well-timed runs for the league leaders’ goals.

Rice was part of Ireland’s training camp in Fota Island last summer and is sure to be involved if there is another gathering a year on with trips to the USA and Australia floated as options.

The London-born 18-year-old looks set to play a major part in the next decade and is committed to Ireland.

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