Warnock’s blunt mes­sage to Ice­land

South Wales Echo - - SPORTS -

CARDIFF City are on the brink of an­other club-v-coun­try row with Ice­land af­ter Neil Warnock de­liv­ered the Euro 2016 he­roes a blunt warn­ing over Aron Gun­nars­son’s fit­ness.

And the vet­eran boss is de­mand­ing a writ­ten agree­ment from the World Cup hope­fuls that they will pay com­pen­sa­tion if they gam­ble with the al­ready in­jured star.

Warnock al­ready has a frosty re­la­tion­ship with Ice­land boss Heimir Hall­gríms­son over the way they’ve used their cap­tain in the past.

And the Blue­birds boss has now is­sued Ice­land with a un­com­pro­mis­ing mes­sage over the risks of play­ing mid­fielder Gun­nars­son in their crunch World Cup qual­i­fiers with Turkey and Kosovo next week.

Gun­nars­son missed Tues­day night’s win over Leeds with a tear in his thigh and has al­ready been ruled out of Satur­day’s visit of Derby County.

But de­spite Warnock say­ing he does not want Gun­nars­son to re­port for in­ter­na­tional duty, Ice­land have called up their 73-cap skip­per and are de­mand­ing he ar­rives in Helsinki so he can be as­sessed by the na­tional side’s medics.

Gun­nars­son will travel with the words of Warnock ring­ing in his ear – even re­mind­ing him he is out of con­tract at the end of the sea­son – and has urged Ice­land’s Hall­grims­son to use caution with the 28-year-old, de­spite their need for vic­to­ries to reach Rus­sia.

Ice­land are level on points with Croa­tia at the top of Group I, but with Turkey and Ukraine only two points be­hind they face a crunch fort­night, and Wat­nock said: “Gun­nars will travel to Ice­land be­cause they want their own med­i­cal peo­ple to see him, which we’re not re­ally happy about.

“He has a tear be­tween his hip and thigh which you can see on the scan we have. It’s get­ting bet­ter but to play two top games like that when he’s not fit to play for us on Satur­day, well I don’t think he should be trav­el­ling.

“It’s such an im­por­tant game for them th­ese two, they’re re­ally cru­cial, but if they play him and he (tears it again) we’ll be very, very an­noyed.

“So we’ll make sure we send all the med­i­cal ev­i­dence over, and if they play him we want a writ­ten agree­ment that if they see the scans it’s got to be their re­spon­si­bil­ity to pay his wages (if he is in­jured). I don’t see why we should if they gam­ble on him.”

Gun­nars­son was due for fur­ther scans on Fri­day, with Warnock adding he has told the en­er­getic mid­fielder his thoughts.

Warnock, who is hope­ful Joe Ralls can re­cover from in­jury to face Derby with Craig Bryson un­able to play against his par­ent club, said: “We have no choice in this. They want to see him. I’m sure they’ll try him to get to play on one leg, be­cause that’s how he is, but I’d be very, very dis­ap­pointed.

“I’ve let Gun­nars know about how I feel about the sit­u­a­tion.

“He’s their cap­tain isn’t he, but if he rips it com­pletely and his con­tract’s up it’s not go­ing to be very good for him­self is it.

“He’ll play on one leg, it’s his coun­try, they are im­por­tant games, so I un­der­stand where the man­ager is com­ing from – but the scans don’t lie, our doc­tor has spo­ken to theirs and they have to look at the big­ger pic­ture.

“I don’t think he’s far away – he’ll be ready af­ter the in­ter­na­tional break – but if he’s not fit Satur­day then to play first game in an in­tense ses­sion, I think it’s too much for me.”

Warnock pre­vi­ously hit out at Ice­land for not rest­ing Gun­nars­son for a friendly against Ire­land when the likes of for­mer Swansea star Gylfi Sig­urds­son were ex­cused, claim­ing it af­fected his per­for­mance as the Blue­birds lost to Wolves last March.

And the 68-year-old also had a dig at Ice­land’s long prepa­ra­tions for their sum­mer qual­i­fiers, say­ing it wasn’t al­low­ing last sea­son’s player of the year to get suf­fi­cient rest fol­low­ing a marathon Cham­pi­onship cam­paign.

Neil Warnock’s frosty re­la­tion­ship with Ice­land is set to be tested again af­ter the Cardiff City boss de­liv­ered a no-non­sense warn­ing to the Euro 2016 stars over Aron Gun­nars­son’s fit­ness.

Warnock has pre­vi­ously hit out at Ice­land boss Heimir Hall­gríms­son

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