England boss Gareth Southgate has clarified his thought process on whether to select quarantining duo Ben Chilwell and Mason Mount for the Round of 16 clash against Germany.
The Chelsea players both missed the final group game against Czech Republic as they were forced to self-isolate after coming into close contact with club teammate Billy Gilmour.
The Stamford Bridge trio were in prolonged contact after England’s scoreless draw against Scotland at their group stage match at Wembley, before Gilmour subsequently tested positive for Covid.
Despite both Chilwell and Mount returning negative tests, they had to enter a period of 10 days of self-isolation – but that timeframe will expire ahead of the knockout match against Germany.
Mount played every minute of the opening two group stage games against Croatia and Scotland respectively, playing as the most advanced of a midfield trio alongside the holding midfielders of Kalvin Phillips and Declan Rice.
Chilwell – who alongside Mount – helped Chelsea to win this season’s Champions League title, has yet to be selected for England in the tournament.
The left-back – who is also comfortable playing in a more advanced wing-back position – was not involved in either of the two group stage games, with Kieran Trippier (naturally a right-back) and Manchester United ’s Luke Shaw selected ahead of him.
Both players are now available for selection ahead of the game against Germany, but it remains unclear if either will be handed a start.
Mount is competing for a starting spot alongside the likes of Phil Foden and Jack Grealish, with Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane both set to retain their starting slots.
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There is also a question for the Three Lions boss about whether to start Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford or Jadon Sancho in attack, with Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson and Jude Bellingham other options to be played in the midfield.
Southgate has now claimed that he has no doubts about the physical conditioning of either player ahead of the game as both have been involved in training sessions.
The boss claims that the psychological state of each player – having been shut off from social contacts for the past 10 days – will have an impact on their state of mind to be involved in such a big game from the start.
Speaking to ITV Sport on Sunday, Southgate said: “Both of them have been doing training in small groups, away from the main group so they have been able to keep up their match fitness.
“In terms of team selection and involvement against Germany, their quarantine ends at midnight the day before the game.
“Their involvement in the game will not only be from a physical perspective, but a psychological one too as they have been in a room on their own for a long period of time, therefore we have to consider this too before picking the squad ahead of the Germany game.”