As Newcastle prepare to take on West Ham in their 2021/22 Premier League opener, manager, Steve Bruce, has taken the unusual step of warning young people to get the Covid jab.
With so many conspiracy theories doing the rounds, it seems that a large number are still refusing to take the vaccine.
However, Magpies keeper, Karl Darlow, will miss the match after being laid low by the after effects of the virus, and losing two stone in weight.
It’s an emotive issue of course, and many will likely question Bruce’s wisdom in sticking his head above the parapet, even if he only has the best of intentions.
“For any young people out there who are not having this jab, here’s a prime example,” Bruce was quoted as saying by the Daily Mail.
“Karl found himself in hospital for the best part of a week, he’s dropped over a stone and a half in weight and it’s really knocked him around.
“There’s a 30-year-old who was hospitalised by this thing – young, fit, healthy and it’s left him in a very, very poorly situation.
“He’s getting bit by bit a little bit stronger, but it basically wiped him out, so just because you’re under the age of 30, you’re not immune to it.
“There we have evidence in our squad of how sick even young people can get. We’ll give him as much time as he wants.”
With Martin Dubravka still on the road to recovery and unavailable for selection against the Hammers, Freddie Woodman will be handed a debut between the sticks.
It’s the perfect opportunity for Woodman to stake a claim for a more permanent residency.