Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell absence 'bizarre', says England boss Gareth Southgate

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Mason Mount and Ben ChilwellMount and Chilwell were seen hugging and speaking to Chelsea team-mate Billy Gilmour at length after Friday's draw with Scotland
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England boss Gareth Southgate says the absence of Mason Mount and Ben Chilwell for the Euro 2020 game against the Czech Republic is a "bizarre situation" that is "full of contradictions".

The pair have to self-isolate after they were seen interacting with Chelsea team-mate Billy Gilmour following England's draw with Scotland on Friday.

Gilmour has since tested positive for coronavirus.

Mount and Chilwell will isolate until 28 June.

They have tested negative for Covid-19 but could still miss England's last-16 match.

"They are hugely disappointed to miss the games," Southgate told ITV. "We just have to get on with it.

"It is a bizarre situation, they have spent 120 seconds too long in a fairly open space. It is full of contradictions for me but we will get on with it."I don't understand it because there are teams travelling around by planes, coach and by bus in enclosed spaces for hours and our two boys have been pinged. I really don't get it."

After the pair initially isolated as a precaution on Monday, Southgate said having Mount and Chilwell quarantined for 10 days would be the "the worst-case scenario".

The entire national team squad had lateral flow tests on Monday and all returned negative results.

Public Health England (PHE) worked with the Football Association to confirm the duo as close contacts of Gilmour, which prompted the 10-day period of isolation.

Among Gilmour's Scotland team-mates, however, there were no close contacts identified within the squad, with 25 players available to face Croatia on Tuesday.

Former goalkeeper for the Czech Republic and Chelsea great Petr Cech, who is now technical director at Chelsea, questioned why Mount and Chilwell have had to isolate when none of Gilmour's team-mates have.

In a post on Instagram,external-link the 39-year-old said "it is incomprehensible".

PHE guidance states someone could be considered a close contact and might have to self-isolate if they had a face-to-face conversation within one metre, or had been within two metres of someone for more than 15 minutes who tested positive for Covid-19.

"We will continue to follow all Covid-19 protocols and the Uefa testing regime, while remaining in close contact with PHE," the FA said in a statement.

How does it affect England in the last 16?

England are guaranteed a place in the last 16 after Monday's results, but will go through as Group D winners with victory over the Czech Republic.

The pair's period of isolation will affect preparations for the knockout stage.

If England finish second in their group, their last-16 game takes place on Monday, 28 June, but if they win the group they play a day later and so the pair would be eligible.

Finishing third would see England play on either 27 or 29 June dependant on the results in other groups.

Midfielder Mount had played every minute of England's European Championship campaign up until the game against the Czech Republic, while left-back Chilwell is yet to feature.

The Football Association said the players would "train individually in private areas" at England's St George's Park training base.

Mount said on social media that he was "absolutely gutted" to miss the final group game, while Chilwell tweeted "it's a tough one to take".

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