Tammy Abraham, Ben Chilwell and Jadon Sancho will miss England’s friendly against Wales at Wembley on Thursday after they breached COVID-19 regulations at the weekend, manager Gareth Southgate said on Wednesday.
Chilwell and Sancho attended a party for Abraham’s 23rd birthday in London on Saturday.
The event was reportedly organised as a surprise but broke the “rule of six”, which is one of the government’s guidelines banning people in England from mixing in groups of over six to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
“They miss the game with Wales, if they are not able to be with us by Friday morning, they’ll miss the game with Belgium,” Southgate told a news conference.
“We just have to make sure to protect the whole group that is key. The timelines on the incubation period are really complex and we have to manage that as best we can.”
Southgate said he spoke to the trio about the responsibility of being England players.
“I think the players have already accepted they were in the wrong… I have to be careful being on my moral high-horse when we aren’t in camp with the team,” Southgate added.
“When the story broke, there was no mention of their clubs. Whether they have one cap or 50 caps, it takes a lot of energy and time away from the team. The players in camp are 100% focused on the game,” Southgate added.
“If you are going into major tournament and it happens, then they can derail you. That did not happen (at the World Cup) in Russia and it allowed us to focus on our football.”
The Wales games will be followed by Nations League games at home to Belgium and Denmark.
“We have one match in my mind and that is Wales tomorrow. Our focus on this game is the same as any other game. We know there is no such thing as a friendly,” Southgate said.
“I’d be disappointed if anybody felt England’s players were less passionate playing in a game like this than the Welsh. We have to go and show that.”
Reuters | LONDON