BBC and BT Sport pundit Chris Sutton says the decision to stop Sheffield United pair James McAtee and Tommy Doyle from playing against Manchester City in the FA Cup semi-final is “not fair”.
Both players are on loan from City and they are, therefore, unable to face their parent club, but both former Arsenal striker Ian Wright and ex-Manchester United captain Roy Keane believe the duo should be eligible. Sutton has also now weighed into the debate:
“McAtee and Doyle should be allowed to play. If clubs loan out players they are basically saying that they aren’t good enough to play at their parent club at that particular time. It’s not fair or in the spirit to penalise them by not letting them play.”
McAtee’s influence has increased as the season has gone on, scoring five goals and providing three assists in 35 appearances for the Blades, and his presence will be missed in the semi-final.
Doyle has had fewer starting opportunities this campaign but he has proven particularly effective in the FA Cup, having scored the crucial last-gasp winner against Blackburn Rovers.
With both players ineligible for the trip to Wembley later this month, though, manager Paul Heckingbottom will have to make do without them.