‘It’s a shame’ but England’s Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell should not be allowed to be exempted from Covid isolation EVEN if it means they miss the game against Germany, public health experts insist
- The look of the English duo could at least miss the starting spots for the game against Germany
- Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell train away from the squad all week
- They shouldn’t be reunited with their teammates until Monday night.
- Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink among others warned that they will lack sharpness
There should be no exemption from covid isolation for England pair Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell, although that will effectively exclude them from the starting 11 against Germany, according to public health experts.
The Football Association were stunned when the duo were ordered to self-isolate after congratulating club teammate Billy Gilmour following England’s 0-0 draw with Scotland on Saturday.
Gilmour subsequently tested positive for Covid and the England pair were identified as close contacts, forcing them to self-isolate for a mandatory 10-day period, while no Scottish player had to self-quarantine.
After being ordered to self-isolate until Monday, Mount (left) and Chilwell (center) will train and dine separately (pictured: both players on Monday)
The FA has appealed to Public Health England to ask that Mount and Chilwell can at least participate in breakout sessions this week, similar to those used by the Premier League when the project restarted.
However, there is no reason to accede to the demand, experts insist, and England appear to be stuck with Mount and Chilwell’s exile until Monday night.
“They broke the bubble,” said Professor Keith Neal, a public health expert at the University of Nottingham. “They could have compromised the whole tournament. They knew they shouldn’t be talking to the opposition. It was their fault and there are no exemptions.
The FA requested permission from Public Health England to allow Mount and Chilwell to participate in social distance training this week
The apparent inconsistency between the application of the rules to the England and Scotland teams has been the subject of debate.
Professor Neal, who is advising the government on the country’s response to Covid, said Scottish players were not required to self-isolate under the rules because they are part of the same bubble. In contrast, England players were exposed to close contact outside of their bubble.
Professor Keith Neal believes there should be no exemption from isolation for footballers
The Scottish FA, meanwhile, said PHE was satisfied that “no close contacts were identified”, although eyebrows were raised again this week when a video, subsequently removed from Instagram , showed Gilmour playing table tennis with teammates Andy Robertson and John McGinn.
Rules are very important to public health experts. They fear that if they seem to be interpreted differently for footballers, then it will be more difficult to enforce them for everyone.
“It all comes down to people following the rules,” added Professor Neal. “If people don’t play by the rules, they can’t get exemptions.”
Mount and Chilwell have come into close contact with Covid-positive Scottish star Billy Gilmour (C)
Currently, Mount and Chilwell train and dine separately from the rest of the England squad and if that continues until Monday night, as now seems likely, the pair’s prospects to start the game are slim according to coaches.
Today, former Netherlands international and former Chelsea and Leeds United striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink said Sportsmail he thought 10 days without training with the rest of the squad was too long for the players to start the game and left manager Gareth Southgate with a “big, big call” to make.
“Tactically that’s not a problem,” said Hasselbaink, who manages League One Burton Albion. “Knowing Gareth, he’ll have looked at every potential opponent – what they have and what systems they play – and now they’ll take a deep look.
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink told Sportsmail Mount and Chilweel would be affected by the isolation
“Players can get a lot out of the video, keep a distance and talk about it. The problem is sharpness.
Another public health expert, Professor Paul Hunter of the University of East Anglia reluctantly agreed that there was no way out of quarantine for Mount and Chilwell.
“It’s difficult,” he said. “I don’t see a way to get around this that wouldn’t be considered a violation of the rules. It’s a shame, especially that this one is against Germany.