Scotland hero Billy Gilmour has been ruled out of their final group game at EURO 2020 due to a positive COVID-19 test and it has impacted England too with Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell now isolating.
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Chelsea midfielder Gilmour, 20, was man of the match on his first-ever start for Scotland as they drew 0-0 with England at Wembley on Friday to keep their hopes of advancing to the last 16 alive.
Following on from this, England duo Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell (who play with Gilmour at Chelsea) are self-isolating.
All 26 England players have tested negative, and so too have the support staff around them, but the English FA released a statement confirming the duo will be kept away from the squad and in guidance with Public Health England, they will now be isolating until Monday, June 29.
That means they will miss the game against the Czech Republic on Tuesday and potentially England’s last 16 clash.
Mount and Chilwell were seen chatting with Gilmour after the game on the pitch and reports state that they spoke with the midfielder in the tunnel area at Wembley for a lengthy period thereafter.
“The pair were confirmed overnight as close contacts of Scotland’s Billy Gilmour after his positive test following last Friday’s match,” England said in a statement.
“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.”
Scotland have to beat Croatia in their final Group D game to have a chance to advance, and they will have to do that without Gilmour, as the Scotland national team announced that he was the only player to test positive for COVID-19.
No close contacts were found, so no other Scotland players will have to self-isolate for their huge clash against Croatia at Hampden Park on Tuesday.
Here is the statement in full from the Scottish FA:
“The Scottish FA can confirm that a member of the Scotland National Team playing squad, Billy Gilmour, has tested positive for COVID-19.
“Having liaised with Public Health England since the positive test was recorded, Billy will now self-isolate for 10 days and therefore miss tomorrow’s UEFA EURO 2020 Group D match against Croatia at Hampden.”
How will this impact Scotland’s hopes?
Gilmour dominated midfield at Wembley and his ability to keep control of the ball, take it under pressure and link midfield with attack made a huge difference for Scotland.
Steve Clarke’s side will be impacted massively be the absence of Gilmour against Croatia.
But the way they played in a 3-5-2 formation against England at Wembley proved they have a solid defensive unit and the likes of John McGinn and Gilmour added poise and creativity in midfield.
Gilmour will likely be replaced by Stuart Armstrong in midfield (with Ryan Christie an option, plus Scott McTominay could move forward into midfield) and the Chelsea midfielder will be hoping Scotland beat Croatia to reach the knockout rounds and that his European Championships will not be over.
The midfielder could return for a potential quarterfinal clash but a last 16 tie could be out of the question due to his 10-day self-isolation period.
He will be a star for the Tartan Army for many years to come, but Gilmour is said to be ‘devastated’ he will play no part in the winner takes all clash at Hampden on Tuesday.
Absence of Mount, Chilwell impacts England
Gareth Southgate sounded very frustrated with the situation in his pre-match press conference before England face Czech Republic on Tuesday, and now he must change up his plans.
Mount was due to start and has been key in England’s two group games so far.
Jack Grealish will now likely take his place in midfield, which will please a lot of England fans, but losing Mount for the final group game and potentially the last 16 clash is a blow for the Three Lions. The Chelsea star has had an incredible last 12 months and sets the tone for England’s press in attack.
As for Chilwell, it was believed he would start the final group game after not featuring in the first two and Luke Shaw will now likely start at left back once again instead of being rested. Kieran Trippier could fill in there too, but there’s no doubting this has impacted Southgate’s plans and all eyes will be on the England and Scotland squads in the coming days as players and staff are tested more.