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Scotland player positive for COVID, England players in isolation at Euro 2020

A coronavirus infection has created disruption for two teams at the European Championship after a positive test for Scotland midfielder Billy Gilmour also led to two England players having to self-isolate.

Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell were deemed by English health authorities to have had “interaction” with Gilmour during England’s 0-0 draw with Scotland at Wembley Stadium on Friday.

No Scotland players, aside from Gilmour, have been told to isolate. 

The announcement came ahead of the final Group D games, with England hosting the Czech Republic, and Scotland playing Croatia with qualification for the round of 16 still up for grabs for all four teams.

All England players came back with negative PCR tests on Sunday and lateral flow tests on Monday.

While Mount started for England against Scotland, Chilwell was an unused substitute.

Mason Mount, right, has played in both of England’s Euro 2020 matches so far.(

AP: Glyn Kirk

)

No timeframe was stated for the period of isolation, which was described as a “precaution” as England team officials remain in talks with local health authorities.

“There is still a lot of discussions and investigations going on behind the scenes,” England coach Gareth Southgate said.

“At the moment they are isolating and we need to find out over the next 12 hours or so.”

None of the Scotland team, who have all since tested negative, have had to isolate after being in contact with Gilmour, and Southgate appeared puzzled at the different approaches.

“I don’t want to cause a drama for Scotland, but if you’re all in the dressing room together, where does everything stand?” said Southgate.

Gareth Southgate gestures with his hands low, palms parallel to the ground
Gareth Southgate, right, said he was confused as to the mixed messages from health authorities.(

AP: Justin Tallis

)

“I don’t know all of the factors behind that but clearly it’s nothing to do with being on the pitch,” he said, adding that it has been acknowledged that there is not enough close contact time on a field during training or a game to count as being exposed.

Southgate added that he had sympathy for Scotland coach Steve Clarke and when asked if the players had been vaccinated, which they have not, offered a reminder that he had proposed such a move.

“In terms of the vaccinations, you need to go back to my suggestions in March around that where I was fairly firmly shouted down for daring to suggest anything of the sort,” he said.

“I did propose it but at the time I also said I totally understood where we stand in the pecking order for vaccinations.

Ben Chilwell points while holding a yellow training pole
Chelsea’s Ben Chilwell is yet to play a game in the Euros for England so far.(

AP: Dave Thompson

)

“In actual fact the vaccinations wouldn’t stop you catching the virus so it might not necessarily have stopped this situation, in fairness,” he added. 

Gilmour has been ruled out of Scotland’s game on Tuesday after entering isolation for 10 days.

“He’s upset as you would expect,” Clarke said.

“He’s asymptomatic. Hopefully he’ll get back to playing as quickly as possible. It’s a blow for us. But it’s a chance for someone else to come into the team.”

Gilmour was UEFA’s player of the match on Friday in the 0-0 draw.

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Players are regularly tested and are staying within team bubbles except when they are at matches. The Scottish Football Association said it had been liaising with Public Health England, but did not announce if anyone else had been deemed a close contact and would have to also isolate.

Clarke refused to answer questions about how the bubble was breached or how Gilmour may have come into contact with the virus. 

“That’s not my department. That’s for the medical department,” Clarke said.

Croatia and the Czech Republic were initially scheduled to use training bases in Scotland but they canceled those plans on May 31, citing UEFA concerns about local COVID-19 rules.

The fear was that if one player tested positive, other players and staff members would also have to self-isolate.

Scotland is based in Middlesbrough, across the border in England.

Scotland and Croatia both have one point from their two Group D matches and need to win to have any chance of qualifying for the next round.

AP/Reuters


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