Patrick Van Aanholt looked completely perplexed as Jason Denayer informed him that he would be starting in his place against Tottenham Hotspur this weekend, and confusion among those watching from home as well as the pundits analysing the game only increased after David Moyes initial explanation of the incident.
Moyes said that medical reasons that he did not want to elaborate on were why Van Aanholt was withdraw, and credit to the MOTD 2 team for giving viewers about as much context as they could on Sunday night, but everyone was still left in the dark as to exactly what happened.
It looked strange, because it was strange. Medical information reached the Sunderland coaching staff at the final hour expressing concerns from the FA panel of cardiologists who became worried with readings from a reading taken of Patrick Van Aanholt.
Moyes relayed the following information while speaking to the press this afternoon:
He had the statutory checks with the cardiologists and the FA panel of cardiologists looked at it and advised us really late on Sunday that he should not play until further tests had taken place.
We are just surprised that the FA panel didn’t contact me or contact my doctor until 3.55pm on Sunday afternoon.
I have never in my career been put in a situation like that ever, so we had that to deal with. We just can’t understand why the message would come to us at that time, 30 minutes before the kick-off.
It was completely outside our control, but it was in our control because we knew we had to make the correct decision for the player and for the football club. We had to do that.
Moyes' frustrations were fully justified, but why did a game of Chinese whispers relay the message to the player himself? It seemed like everyone who was informed of what was happening found someone else to actually tell the player.
Regardless, the decision to withdraw him is a sensible one. If the FA notice something irregular reagrding a player's heart then safety must come first in that situation.
So now we know what happened.