Jonny Steele has been granted an indefinite period of personal leave from the Newcastle Jets for reasons the club have not made public.
Steele, 28, arrived at the Hunter Stadium in the off-season and started the first two matches of the Hyundai A-League campaign, a 1-0 loss to the Central Coast Mariners and a 1-1 draw with Melbourne City.
The Northern Irishman was dropped for the 4-1 loss to Wellington Phoenix in Round 3, before a calf problem ruled him out of the 2-1 defeat to Perth Glory last Saturday.
Head coach Phil Stubbins' told the Newcastle Herald Steele would be given time off after the player missed a training session on Wednesday.
"The player has requested a little bit of leave of absence, and after speaking with the player, and considering our duty of care as a club, we've decided that it's a warranted request," Stubbins said.
"It will remain in confidence between the player and the club where it's at. That's probably all I'd be prepared to say at this point in time.
"Out of respect for the player, I don't really want to go into too much detail, to be honest.
"We've not put a definite period on here. Everyone is trying to do the right thing here, and that's where it's at."
Capped three times by Northern Ireland, Steele has spent much of his career in the United States, playing in the North American Soccer League and Major League Soccer, most recently with Tim Cahill's New York Red Bulls.
In his absence, the Jets will host their first home game of the season against Melbourne Victory on Saturday, still searching for a win after three defeats and a draw from four matches played in 2014-15.comments