Mason Mount is confident he will be ready to start England’s last-16 tie against Germany, even though the midfielder and Ben Chilwell will not be allowed to rejoin their teammates until the day of the game.
The Football Association had looked into whether Mount and Chilwell could take part in socially distanced outdoor training with Gareth Southgate’s squad during the buildup to Tuesday’s match against Germany at Wembley, only to find that the pair cannot leave their isolation until midnight on Monday.
Mount and Chilwell are in quarantine after being deemed close contacts of Scotland’s Billy Gilmour, who returned a positive Covid test last Monday, and their involvement against Joachim Löw’s side is in doubt. They have been training individually and suggestions that they could take part in Southgate’s preparations by working with other players, possibly in small groups, have not led anywhere. The FA is continuing to follow guidelines stating that Mount and Chilwell must stay away from the group.
The Chelsea duo, who were forced to miss England’s victory over the Czech Republic last Tuesday, have not been in full training since last Monday and Southgate has a tough decision over whether to bring them back. There is a particular focus on Mount given he started England’s first two group games and was set to play against the Czechs. The manager, who is likely to pick Luke Shaw instead of Chilwell at left-back, values the 22-year-old’s tactical intelligence and would love to have him available.
The dilemma is that Mount and Chilwell, who was due to make his first appearance of the tournament against the Czechs, will not be able to participate in any shape work, although they can take part in team meetings via video call.
However Mount’s fitness is not a concern. The youngster made 54 appearances for Chelsea in all competitions last season and is one of the most durable players in Southgate’s squad. He has been maintaining his physical condition during individual sessions and he is optimistic that he will not be too rusty to play against Germany.
Mount’s energy and ability could be vital against Germany, who started with a central midfield of Toni Kroos and Ilkay Gündogan during their group matches. Kroos struggled to deal with Mount’s pace when Chelsea beat Real Madrid in the Champions League season.
The positive for Southgate is that he is not short of options in attacking midfield. Jack Grealish and Bukayo Saka impressed after coming in against the Czechs and Phil Foden is in contention to return.