Birmingham City has revealed that Philippine Azkals goalkeeper Neil Etheridge is undergoing treatment in an undisclosed facility after contracting coronavirus.
“The Club can confirm that Neil Etheridge is currently receiving treatment in hospital for COVID-19,” read the team’s statement.
“Everyone at Birmingham City is sending him all our strength and best wishes.”
Etheridge is the latest Filipino athlete to have been afflicted with the dreaded illness.
Roughly two months ago, Kristina Scott — who will represent the country in the upcoming 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan — was recently diagnosed with COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated.
Craig Gardner, Birmingham City’s technical director commented, “On behalf of the Board, the staff, the players, and everyone connected to the Club, we’re all behind Neil and willing him on in his battle against COVID-19.”
During the 2020-21 EFL Championship, England’s second division, the 31-year-old started 43 matches and kept 13 clean sheets. He had a decent first season with Birmingham City, which finished a respectable 18th place on the league table under two managers, Spaniard Aitor Karanka and Englishman Lee Bowyer.
“We’re in constant contact with his close family and will continue to support them in any way we can. He’s in the best possible hands and we’re hopeful we can all welcome him home at the earliest opportunity,” furthered Gardner.
Etheridge would have participated in the Azkals’ final joint 2022 FIFA World Cup and 2023 AFC Asian Cup qualification fixtures in Sharjah, UAE, only for injury to ruin his chances.
He has made 62 appearances for the Philippines in its international fixtures. He last played in a 1-0 loss to Syria in Dubai last November 19, 2019.