Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell have been ruled out of England’s match against the Czech Republic and could be unavailable for their last-16 tie at Euro 2020 after being forced to isolate for 10 days because of a conversation in the Wembley tunnel with Scotland’s Billy Gilmour last Friday.
Gareth Southgate’s plans for England’s final match of the group phase were thrown into disarray after Mount and Chilwell were deemed to have been close contacts of Gilmour, who was sent into a 10-day quarantine after returning a positive test for Covid-19 on Monday. The contact between the Chelsea trio took place after Scotland’s goalless draw with Southgate’s side.
Mount and Chilwell were expected to start against the Czechs on Tuesday night, with England needing a victory to advance to the knockout stages as group winners, and they are major doubts to feature in the next round after being told that they must isolate up to and including next Monday. The pair have since returned negative Covid tests but the Football Association has decided to take precautionary measures after consultation with Public Health England.
Confirmation that Mount and Chilwell must quarantine presents Southgate with a headache. England, whose progress from the group is already assured, will play their last-16 tie in Copenhagen next Monday if they finish second in Group D. Mount and Chilwell would still be in isolation in that scenario and although they will continue to train individually at the team’s base at St George’s Park, there is no guarantee that they will be ready to start immediately after their isolation. England will play their last-16 match at Wembley if they beat the Czechs.
England are under pressure after their draw with Scotland. Luke Shaw is expected to start instead of Chilwell at left-back on Tuesday and Jude Bellingham, the 17-year-old midfielder, is likely to replace Mount in midfield. Chilwell is yet to feature during the tournament but Mount has started England’s first two games.
The Football Association said: “We can confirm that Ben Chilwell and Mason Mount must isolate up to and including next Monday [28 June]. This decision has been taken in consultation with Public Health England.
“The pair were confirmed overnight as close contacts of Scotland’s Billy Gilmour after his positive test following last Friday’s match. 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.”
It remains unclear who flagged Mount and Chilwell and close contacts of Gilmour, who was due to start in Scotland’s must-win match against Croatia at Hampden Park on Tuesday.