Midfielder Tamir Cohen was left behind in Bolton when the squad flew out for a winter training camp in Dubai. The Israeli has been struggling all season with a hamstring injury but hopes to be fit by the end of the month.
“I am not surprised that I was not asked to participate in the training camp,” said Cohen. “There would have been nothing for me to do there because of the injury. Besides, because the training is in Dubai, as an Israeli it would have been very difficult to get an entry visa. So I stayed behind and have no problem with that. I’ve been more bothered by all the anti-Israeli demonstrations in recent weeks.”
Cohen will not be the first Israeli to stay at home when his teammates are enjoying the Dubai sunshine. Yossi Benayoun and Yaniv Katan were left in the cold when West Ham held a training camp two years ago, while Tal Ben Haim suffered the same fate at Bolton.
Cohen, 24, joined Bolton from Maccabi Netanya last January and made 10 appearances last season and scored one goal against his father’s former club Liverpool. But this season he has been plagued by injury and has failed to make a single appearance.
Bolton manager Gary Megson has assured Cohen that he still has a future at the Reebok. “The injury seems to be healing and I hope to be available for Israel’s friendly with Hungary next month,” said Cohen.
Tal Ben Haim was left at home when Manchester City flew to a training camp in Spain this week. The Israel defender is reportedly nursing an ankle injury but is also at the centre of ongoing negotiations ahead of an expected move to Blackburn.