Eddie Howe will make an unexpected return to the technical area at Arsenal on Saturday after returning a negative Covid-19 test in time to take charge of Newcastle United for the first time in person.
Newcastle’s manager has been isolating in his Tyneside hotel suite since testing positive during a routine club screening last Friday. He was forced to miss last Saturday’s 3-3 draw against Brentford at St James’ Park, delegating managerial duties to his assistant, Jason Tindall, and seemed set to be absent until Tuesday night’s home game with Norwich.
UK government regulations require anyone recording a positive result to isolate for 10 days and 11 nights from the day of the test unless they can trace the onset of symptoms to an earlier date and then test negative at least 10 days later. The resultant paradox is that asymptomatic people often end up in quarantine for longer than their symptomatic counterparts.
As Howe originally thought he was entirely asymptomatic there seemed no escape from isolation until Tuesday morning but club medical stuff are understood to have identified the mild sore throat and slightly hoarse voice he complained of early last week as the onset of symptoms. Howe apparently believed his throat had merely been irritated by persistent shouting at players during training.
On Friday morning Tindall said that Howe had displayed mild symptoms, complaining of fatigue between Sunday and Tuesday, but had recovered. He said Howe had “followed all the protocols” and been “very surprised” by last Friday’s positive result. “You want your leader, you want your manager there. We’ve missed seeing the manager out on the grass and we’re looking forward to having him back.”