Eamon Dunphy says it's "wrong" for football players not to get the Covid-19 vaccine and that it should be "almost compulsory" across the board.
Dunphy was speaking in the aftermath of Irish international Callum Robinson admitting that he hadn't received the Covid-19 vaccine despite missing crucial Ireland games due to contracting the virus on two separate occasions. The West Brom winger made the revelation on Tuesday, putting it down to a "personal choice".
Former RTÉ football pundit Dunphy pointed to the Premier League who revealed last week that only seven of their 20 clubs have squads where 50 per cent or more of the players are fully vaccinated.
"What I think is, it's important to look at what's happening over in England, only seven of the Premier League clubs have fully vaccinated more than 50 percent of their squad," Dunphy told Today with Claire Byrne on RTÉ Radio 1.
"Callum Robinson is in the majority. Manchester United have not got the majority of their squad vaccinated against the virus and Jurgen Klopp who is the manager of Liverpool is very angry.
"He says he can't understand it, he thinks everybody should be vaccinated and that it should be more or less compulsory, but he realises he can't make it compulsory. If there's eight players in the 26-man Irish squad who are unvaccinated, then Stephen Kenny is doing better than the average in the Premier League."
Last week, Jurgen Klopp spoke out about the lack of uptake for the vaccine amongst Premier League players, saying his side's vaccination rate was 99 per cent. The Liverpool manager compared people who refuse the vaccine to drink-drivers and said they are to blame if others catch Covid-19 from them.
"It's a real problem in sport in general, among young people and the other problem an international team manager has is he's only borrowing these players for this week. Jurgen Klopp may try to lay down the law but there's no way Stephen Kenny or Gareth Southgate can," Dunphy continued.
"I think it's wrong, I think vaccination should be almost compulsory. And certainly when you have frontline workers [at the game]. These young men are impressionable, they read the stories online and I know that Stephen Kenny said yesterday at his press conference that virility is an issue for some of them - they feel they might lose it if they get the vaccination.
"All of that stuff is out there and there's a lot to consider, but he (Kenny) cannot lay down the law to players who don't belong to him."