Graham Potter explains real reason why Aaron Connolly missed Newcastle win

Albion head coach Graham Potter believes Aaron Connolly's international break with Ireland has come at the right time.

Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 8:18 am
Aaron Connolly has had a troubled time recently but head coach Graham Potter feels his time with Ireland will do him some good

Connolly was disciplined by the club last week for a breach of coronavirus restrictions after the Republic of Ireland international reportedly invited a woman into a house in which he had been staying.

He has scored just twice this season and last November he was reprimanded by Potter for an angry reaction to being substituted against Liverpool.

Connolly has also suffered persistent online abuse and last month he suspended his Twitter and Instagram accounts.

On top of that, Connolly has been struggling with his fitness as a back spasm ruled him out of the defeat against Leicester and a cracked rib prevented him from being involved with the victory at Southampton.

Connolly was back in full training ahead of Brighton's excellent 3-0 win against Newcastle but Potter felt he needed a few days and wasn't included in Saturday's matchday squad.

The 21-year-old will now report for duty with Ireland for their upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Serbia and Luxembourg, plus a friendly against Qatar on March 30.

He has been injured," said Potter when asked why Connolly wasn't included against Newcastle.

"He has just had a couple of days training so we did not want to rush him back. He needed more time. He will available for the Irish national team and I think that will be good for him.

"Aaron has been really good. He's trained, he's been injured, he cracked his rib. He has trained the last few days and trained really well.

"He knows he's made a mistake and let himself and the team down and he's accepted that, we have dealt with that and we have moved on.

Asked if he was omitted against Newcastle for fitness or disciplinary reasons, Potter added: "I felt he needed a few more days training before he available for the bench and I think he will get that when he goes away with the national team.

"That is good for us and it is good for him. He understands what has happened but we have to move on and accept the mistake and move on."

Brighton's win against Newcastle lifts them six points above the relegation zone with nine Premier League matches of the season remaining.

Potter's men are next in action at Man United on April 4.