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David Moyes smarting over Van Aanholt withdrawal but FA says it played no part

Published 20/09/2016

Patrick van Aanholt withdrawal from the starting XI sparked a series of conspiracy theories
Patrick van Aanholt withdrawal from the starting XI sparked a series of conspiracy theories

Sunderland boss David Moyes and the Football Association are at loggerheads over Patrick van Aanholt's withdrawal from the team on the advice of a cardiac specialist.

The 26-year-old was pulled out minutes before kick-off in Sunday's Premier League game at Tottenham after Moyes was informed of the results of tests which uncovered a potential issue.

But while Moyes was unhappy at the timing of the news - he was told around 30 minutes before the game was due to start - the FA has insisted that had nothing to do with them.

Having said after the game on Sunday only that Van Aanholt was withdrawn for "medical reasons", the Scot announced on Tuesday morning what the issue was.

Moyes said: "He had the statutory checks with the cardiologists and the FA panel of cardiologists looked at it and advised us really late on Sunday that he should not play until further tests had taken place.

"We are just surprised that the FA panel didn't contact me or contact my doctor until 3.55pm on Sunday afternoon. I have never in my career been put in a situation like that ever, so we had that to deal with.

"We just can't understand why the message would come to us at that time, 30 minutes before the kick-off."

It is understood the initial problem was identified earlier in the week during a routine screening and that the club consulted an independent specialist, whose opinion was only delivered on Sunday.

However, the specialist by coincidence is a member of the FA's consensus panel.

An FA spokesperson said: "This cardiac screen was not conducted as part of the FA's cardiac screening programme, therefore the FA had no involvement in the player's referral, the screening process or the communication of the results with the club.

"On occasion, clubs may seek independent advice on a player's cardiac health from an expert cardiologist who sits on the FA consensus panel, which is an expert body in this area.

"Cardiologists who sit on the FA consensus panel are hugely respected and vastly experienced specialists who place the patient at the very centre of their care and their only concern will be in regard to the well-being of that individual."

Van Aanholt's place was taken by Jason Denayer, and Moyes' post-match comments - or limited explanation - prompted a series of wild conspiracy theories.

Dutchman Van Aanholt has now had further tests and been given the all-clear to play once again, although his manager is yet to decide if he will feature in the EFL Cup third round trip at QPR on Wednesday evening.

Sunderland head for Loftus Road yet to claim a Premier League win in five attempts this season and hoping the EFL Cup can kick-start their campaign.

Summer signing Papy Djilobodji has endured a difficult start to life on Wearside with his error allowing Harry Kane to fire Spurs to victory over the weekend.

However, Moyes, who will be without Jermain Defoe because of a calf problem and Adnan Januzaj through suspension, has been pleased with elements of what he has seen from the £8million man and has been impressed with the attitude of a player who has been thrown in at the deep end since the unexpected departure of Younes Kaboul.

Moyes said: "Yes, we know he has made a few mistakes, but to be fair to the boy, he's accepted them.

"It would have been worse if he was someone who was saying, 'No, I've got nothing to do with this'. He's trying to improve himself, so for me that's better that way than it is the other way."

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