Liverpool forward Xherdan Shaqiri has pulled out from the latest Switzerland squad, ahead of next month’s European qualifiers.
The squad was named for the Schweizer Nati’s EURO 2020 qualifiers, where they will face the Republic of Ireland and Gibraltar. However the 27-year-old was a notable absence from the squad, which was announced on Friday.
The Schweizerischer Fussballverband (SFV) said via Twitter: “Xherdan Shaqiri will not be available. He has decided, given his current situation, to concentrate fully on his club.”
It is an unusual and disgraceful decision from Shaqiri, who has the most goals and caps in the current Switzerland squad. He has a combined 44 goals and assists in 82 caps for the national team, though hasn’t scored in his last 7 appearances.
Shaqiri has chosen to focus on his club career at Liverpool, despite playing just 11 minutes out of a possible 480 minutes all season. That came in the Community Shield at the start of the season, where the Reds lost on penalties to Manchester City.
Shaqiri’s decision has proved controversial among Swiss fans, who feel that he is being selfish and disrespectful, abandoning the national team when really needed. The Schweizer Nati have two crucial qualifiers coming up, in particular the trip to Dublin next Thursday.
He is one of the key pivots in Vladimir Petković’s squad, leading the attack for the Swiss. His absence is a huge blow for Switzerland, who will have to do without one of their most influential and creative players in a controversial move.
Elsewhere in the squad, Petković has made a handful of changes. FC Basel defender Eray Cömert deservedly earns his first senior callup for Switzerland, after impressing for club and country. Cömert is the under-21s captain, and has played in 9 of Basel’s 10 opening fixtures.
Petković is also without an injured quartet, with Norwich City pair Timm Klose and Josip Drmić unavailable alongside forwards Steven Zuber and Djibril Sow. Breel Embolo returns to the squad after pulling out last time through injury, coming in at the expense of youngster Noah Okafor.
Fellow forward Mario Gavranović also retains his place in the squad, alongside BSC Young Boys’ Christian Fassnacht and Basel’s Silvan Widmer. Michael Lang is the only player to lose his spot, having just gone on loan to Werder Bremen.
Switzerland travel to Dublin first, facing the Republic of Ireland on Thursday night. The Swiss return to home soil next Sunday, as they host Gibraltar at the Stade Tourbillon in Sion.
SWITZERLAND SQUAD IN FULL
|Goalkeepers||Yann Sommer; Yvon Mvogo; Jonas Omlin|
|Defenders||Ricardo Rodríguez; François Moubandje; Manuel Akanji; Fabian Schär; Nico Elvedi; Eray Cömert; Kevin Mbabu; Loris Benito|
|Midfielders||Granit Xhaka; Denis Zakaria; Edimilson Fernandes; Silvan Widmer; Christian Fassnacht; Remo Freuler; Renato Steffen; Admir Mehmedi|
|Forwards||Breel Embolo; Mario Gavranović; Albian Ajeti; Haris Seferović|