Sunderland manager David Moyes has confirmed that Patrick van Aanholt was removed from the starting line up against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday because of recent heart test results.
The Dutch defender was replaced by Jason Denayer in the starting line up, with the Belgian defender actually informing his colleague of the decision whilst warming up, prompting him to boot the ball away.
Speaking to the Guardian, Moyes put to bed the endless conspiracy theories surrounding the situation:
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“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.”
Moyes did voice his concern over the lateness of the information amid fears for his player's health if he had indeed taken part in the match.
“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.”
Van Aanholt will travel with the squad to London for their EFL Cup third round tie with QPR, however, Moyes is undecided as to whether the Dutchman will play any part in the match.
“He’s had some further tests and will travel to London with us, and we will make a decision on that a little bit later.”
Player safety has been the forefront of football news in recent days following the death of non-league footballer Daniel Wilkinson who collapsed and died on the pitch while playing for Brighouse Town.
Thankfully, the right precautions were taken with Van Aanholt and now he can mentally shrug off what has been a tough situation and get back to playing football.