LONDON, United Kingdom, Jun 21 – England suffered a Euro 2020 blow on Monday as Chelsea duo Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell were forced to self-isolate following contact with Scotland’s Billy Gilmour, who has tested positive for COVID-19.
England’s 26-man squad all returned negative results after the news of Gilmour’s positive test broke earlier on Monday.
But Mount and Chilwell are likely to miss England’s Group D clash with the Czech Republic at Wembley on Tuesday as a result of their contact with Gilmour.
Chelsea team-mates Mount and Gilmour were on opposing sides in England’s 0-0 draw against Scotland on Friday, while their club colleague Chilwell was an unused substitute.
Mount and Chilwell were photographed standing next to Gilmour after the game.
The English Football Association are in discussions with health authorities over whether the pair can face the Czechs, as well as their availability for the last 16.
Gilmour has been ruled out of Scotland’s must-win match against Croatia in Glasgow on Tuesday.
“As a precaution at this time and in consultation with Public Health England (PHE), Ben Chilwell and Mason Mount are isolating after interaction with Scotland player Billy Gilmour at Friday’s match,” an FA statement said.
“The pair will be kept away from the rest of the England players and wider support team, pending further discussions with PHE.
“The entire squad had lateral flow tests on Monday afternoon and all were again negative, as was the case with Sunday’s UEFA pre-match PCR tests.
“We will continue to follow all Covid-19 protocols and the UEFA testing regime, while remaining in close contact with PHE.”
Mount had been due to appear at the pre-match press conference alongside England boss Gareth Southgate, but the midfielder was withdrawn from his media duties.
Asked if the pair will be available for the Czech game, Southgate told reporters: “We don’t know at the moment.
“There’s obviously got to be quite a doubt but there’s still a lot of discussions and investigations going on behind the scenes.
“So at the moment they’re isolating and we just have to find out over the last 12 hours or so.”
– ‘A lot of unknowns’ –
Southgate revealed his players were subjected to additional testing on Monday as a precautionary measure following the Scotland outbreak.
“In terms of the testing, we had the mandatory PCR tests for the pre-game, and we’ve just followed that up today because of the situation that’s emerged with Scotland,” he said.
“It’s just belt-and-braces to make sure we’re OK for people to travel together and eat together.”
Southgate was confused why Mount and Chilwell had to isolate, while none of Gilmour’s Scotland team-mates have to do so.
“I don’t want to cause drama for Scotland but if you are all in the dressing room together, where does it stand?” he said.
“I don’t know all the factors behind that. It’s nothing to do with being on the pitch, that’s why there’s no issue with teams training.
“It would be something to do with chatting after the game, but I have no idea of all the detail.”
England, whose place in the last 16 was confirmed by other results on Monday, need to beat the Czech Republic to finish top of Group D in their final match of the first stage.
That will determine who England face in the last 16 and where they have to play.
Southgate admitted the isolation problem was the last thing he needed before such a significant match.
“I can’t say it isn’t disruptive. We don’t really know at this point whether they might be OK for tomorrow, or they could be out for 10 days,” he said.
“We had worked with the players this morning on the training pitch so then of course we find out when we finish that this is the situation.
“In terms of the team, we’ll have to know by first thing in the morning of their availability and if not we’ll just have to play on without them.”