Gareth Southgate tested positive for the virus at the end of October | Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images
England boss Gareth Southgate has confirmed that was down with coronavirus last month.
Southgate oversaw the Three Lions’ 2-0 defeat to Belgium on Sunday night – a result which means they won’t be able to qualify for next year’s UEFA Nations League finals.
England fell to defeat in Leuven on Sunday night | Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images
In the build-up to the contest, it was reported that the England manager had contracted and fought off the coronavirus last month, but had refused to tell any of his players of the diagnosis.
Southgate was believed to have produced a positive test after developing symptoms at the end of October, being forced to self-isolate before he returned a negative result. Certainly not the ideal preparation for the November internationals.
Nevertheless, the 50-year-old confirmed reports in the wake of their defeat in Belgium: “Yes, I did have the virus but fortunately I wasn’t as serious as some of the people in our country.
“It’s not pleasant and it’s not something you’d choose to have but everything is fine now,” he added (via The Sun).
Southgate will oversee England’s final Nations League fixture against Iceland on Wednesday | John Berry/Getty Images
It’s understood that Southgate tested positive on 25 October before self-isolating at his home in North Yorkshire. A subsequent negative result followed on 5 November, enabling him to host a press conference on Zoom announcing his latest squad.
The Three Lions manager, meanwhile, was also quick to praise Jack Grealish following their defeat in Leuven.
Grealish, making his first competitive start for his country, was unquestionably England’s star performer on the night after taking the game by the scruff of the neck in the second period.
“Today was a great game for us to see him in. I couldn’t speak highly enough of his performance,” Southgate said.
A free-spirited Jack Grealish enjoyed a superb second-half against the Red Devils | John Berry/Getty Images
“I saw what I knew I would see from Jack, someone with the bravery to play. He took the ball in tight areas, his technique was good, we knew he would buy a lot of free kicks.
“I thought he was outstanding – he should be delighted. I explained to him what we wanted to see when we brought him in in September,” the England boss concluded.