Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell have been ruled out of England’s match with Czech Republic at Wembley on Tuesday evening, and the duo could now miss out on the round of 16 too.
The Chelsea pair will have to isolate up to and including Monday 28 June after being confirmed as close contacts of Scotland midfielder Billy Gilmour, who tested positive for Covid-19 earlier this week.
Whether Mount and Chilwell can play in the round of 16 depends on when the fixture falls. Should England beat Czech Republic then they will win Group D and would play their first knockout game on 29 June at Wembley, meaning the Chelsea duo would be available to play – although they would not have trained with the squad in the build-up. A second-place finish would mean England play their last-16 game on 28 June in Copenhagen, when Mount and Chilwell would still be isolating.
Finishing third in the group, which is still possible with defeat, would leave England’s last-16 date up in the air, either falling on 27 June of 29 June.
Why are they isolating?
After Scotland’s Billy Gilmour returned a positive Covid-19 test over the weekend, the FA asked England’s players for details of their interactions with the midfielder where it was revealed that Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell had shared a lengthy conversation with their Chelsea teammate after the match, thought to have been for at least 20 minutes.
The FA gave a detailed breakdown of the interaction to Public Health England, which made the recommendation on Monday for Mount and Chilwell to self-isolate under further notice. On Tuesday PHE went further, recommending to the FA that both players isolated for a total of 10 days after the game, up until 28 June.
It is thought the key reasons for Chilwell and Mount being singled out is because of the length of the conversation, and the fact that it took place indoors (around the dressing rooms at Wembley), and that it was with a someone who returned a confirmed positive test. These factors were more relevant and concerning to PHE than photos of Mount and Chilwell embracing Gilmour on the pitch at full-time.
Why aren’t Scotland’s players isolating?
Scotland’s players have clearly been mixing with Gilmour. But if the squad has abided by tournament protocols under PHE then they will not be required to isolate. Individuals would be required to isolate if they had breached those protocols and been in sustained close proximity with Gilmour, but so far no Scottish players have been recommended to leave the group.
What did the FA say?
“Chilwell and Mount will isolate and train individually in private areas at England’s training base St. George’s Park, with the rest of the squad returning there after tonight’s fixture against Czech Republic at Wembley.
“We will continue to follow all Covid-19 protocols and the UEFA testing regime, while remaining in close contact with PHE.
“The entire England squad and staff had lateral flow tests on Monday and all were again negative, as was the case with Sunday’s UEFA pre-match PCR tests.
“Further tests will be carried out as and when appropriate.”
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