Extra Covid-19 test for Kalvin Phillips and England, Leeds United star may need new midfield partner

Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips may have to form a new England midfield partnership in the wake of Scotland player Billy Gilmour's positive Covid-19 test.

Monday, 21st June 2021, 7:49 pm
DISRUPTED PREPARATION - Leeds United man Kalvin Phillips may need a new midfield partner to face Czech Republic in the final Euro 2020 group game for England. Pic: Getty

Gilmour's positive test, which has forced him out of the Scotland and Croatia game, has meant that his fellow Chelsea players and England pair Ben Chilwell and Mason Mount have had to isolate. The trio were pictured in close contact following Friday night's Euro 2020 group game at Wembley.

Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate revealed that Chilwell and Mount's participation in tomorrow's game against Czech Republic is up in the air and the entire squad have had further Covid-19 tests today.

"Every team is trying to apply those [Covid guidelines] as vigorously as we can," he said.

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"We're doing all we can on that front.

"In terms of the testing we had PCR tests, the mandatory pre-game tests and we've followed that up today because of the situation that's emerged with Scotland, as a sort of belt and braces, to make sure we're okay for people to travel together and eat together."

Phillips may now have to form a new midfield partnership for the final Euro 2020 group game, if Mount is ruled out. West Ham's Declan Rice has been playing the holding midfield role with Phillips in a more advanced position to the right of centre and Mount to the left.

Mount's absence could open the door for Aston Villa man Jack Grealish, Liverpool's Jordan Henderson or Dortmund youngster Jude Bellingham.

Southgate is unsure whether or not he can count on isolating duo Mount and Chilwell.

"We don't know at the moment," he said.

"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 next 12 hours or so."

The news of Gilmour's positive test and the subsequent consequence for the England duo have had an impact on Southgate's preparations for the Czech Republic game.

"We had worked with the players this morning on the training pitch and then of course you find out as you finish that this is the situation," he said.

"I can't say it isn't disruptive. We don't really know whether they might be okay for tomorrow or they might be out for 10 days. There are a lot of unknowns at this time.

"Although we worked on the training pitch we hadn't confirmed the team. We put some players in and moved them around. We'll wait until the morning when we're really clear on the final situation with the two boys, to know where we stand."

A statement from the Football Association read: "As a precaution at this time and in consultation with Public Health England, Ben Chilwell and Mason Mount are isolating after interaction with Scotland player Billy Gilmour at Friday's match.

"The pair will be kept away from the rest of the England players and wider support team, pending further discussions with Public Health England. 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."