Boost for Ireland as Shaqiri pulls out of Switzerland squad to 'concentrate fully on Liverpool'

Fri, Aug 30 2019

Shaqiri hasn't featured in Liverpool's three league games so far this season. Credit: Brian F Smyth (ETPhotos)

Mick McCarthy been handed a boost ahead of next week’s crucial Euro 2021 qualifier with Switzerland as Liverpool’s Xherdan Shaqiri has pulled out of the squad to ‘concentrate fully on his club.’

The 82-times-capped playmaker has been a peripheral figure for the Champions League winners this season, with his only appearance coming in the Community Shield curtain-raiser against Manchester City.

Shaqiri featured for Liverpool in the 4-0 Champions League semi-final against Barcelona before playing with his country in the Nations League against Portugal and England.

The 27-year-old has now opted to take a step back from international football, at least temporarily, in order to focus on winning his place back in the Reds team.

"Xherdan Shaqiri will not be available for the European Championship qualifiers in Ireland and against Gibraltar," read a statement on the association's website.

"The 82-fold international has decided, given his current situation, to concentrate fully on his club Liverpool."

Also missing from the squad are the experienced Stephan Lichtsteiner and Michael Lang, following recent club transfers, and the injured Josip Drmic, Timm Klose, Djibril Sow and Steven Zuber.

"The players need as many games as possible and ideally complete the preparation with their new club to get into the rhythm faster,” manager Vladimir Petkovic said.

Admir Mehmedi and Breel Embolo return to the fold after missing the Nations League games with injury, while Christian Fassnacht, Sylvain Widmer and Mario Gavranovic are also recalled.

Under-21 captain Eray Comert has been called up for the first time after the Basel player participated in a training camp ahead of the Nations League.