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Brighton boss Graham Potter understanding of reasons for not releasing players

Brighton boss Graham Potter understanding of reasons for not releasing players
© Reuters
Mali midfielder Yves Bissouma is among those prevented from playing for his country next month.

Brighton boss Graham Potter says he understands the reasoning behind Premier League clubs not releasing players for international matches to be played in countries on the UK Government’s red list.

The Premier League said on Tuesday that its clubs had agreed “reluctantly but unanimously” to stop nearly 60 players from 19 clubs travelling to 26 red-list countries next month to play in 2022 World Cup qualifiers.

Brighton faced severe disruption with star midfielder Yves Bissouma, who plays for Mali, and South American trio Alexis Mac Allister, Moises Caicedo and Steven Alzate potentially among those affected.

“I can understand the decision because it means 10 days in isolation,” Potter said.

“That also means further time in training to get them up to speed to play.

“You’re looking at players being unavailable for three weeks. That’s a long time.”

Brighton continued their winning start to the season with a 2-0 Carabao Cup success at Cardiff on Tuesday.

After the Seagulls recorded two opening top-flight victories for the first time with wins over Burnley and Watford, Potter made 11 changes and sent out an inexperienced side at Cardiff.

Every outfield player was 23 or under and the team had an average age of 21.

But Potter’s faith in his impressive youngsters was rewarded as Jakub Moder and Andi Zeqiri scored their first goals for the club.

The pair could now come into contention at home to Everton on Saturday, with main striker Neal Maupay nursing a shoulder injury and a major doubt for the Premier League contest.

Swiss striker Zeqiri, in particular, took his goal at Cardiff in fine fashion and Potter said: “He is a fantastic character and an amazing team player. We know his quality.

“He’ll do anything you ask him to do, anything, and he will give it 120 per cent.

“I think he’ll end up as a nine, but he’s got the flexibility to play in a few positions.

“He’s probably suffered because he hasn’t played in the nine position as much as he would have liked him to or he would like to.

“But he’s one of those guys that doesn’t let you down whatever you ask him to do. It sounds like it should be a given, but it’s not always.”

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