Cardiff City head coach Neil Warnock has told BBC Sport that he was irritated when Iceland ignored his request to rest Aron Gunnarsson.
The 28-year-old midfielder has been a key player for the Iceland national side for many years now and was one of their top players when they shocked everyone by reaching the quarter finals of Euro 2016, even beating England. They were going into an important part of World Cup qualifications during the last week where they could quality for Russia 2018 without even playing in the play-offs.
And that’s what happened after they picked up wins over Turkey and Kosovo. And while Warnock was very happy for Gunnarsson for making it to the World Cup, he was disappointed that despite warning them that his fitness levels weren’t where they should be, Iceland still played him for large amounts of the matches when he thought the game was won. This means that he may miss Cardiff’s next match against Birmingham City.
Warnock said: “I was disappointed. I said to Kevin Blackwell and Ronnie Jepson [Warnock’s assistants], Turkey was the biggest game, he did not want to let them down,”
“He played 64 minutes or something like that and the second game the same. I was slightly disappointed they were 2-0 up against a team that had one point in the competition that he didn’t come off at half-time.
“But as Jepson and Blacky said, ‘It’s the biggest game in their history, he’s the captain, would you?’ I see their point of view really.
“It’s such a fantastic achievement. Iceland’s not as big as Cardiff, to get to the World Cup finals is a fantastic achievement.”
“If there’s any doubt about him, we won’t play him.”