Euro 2020: Steve Clarke explains decision to let Scotland players spend time with families at home

Scotland manager Steve Clarke says he has no fears over potential Covid risks for his Euro 2020 squad as they spend time with their families this week.

Scotland manager Steve Clarke has allowed his players to spend time with their families this week before they travel to their Euro 2020 finals basecamp at Rockliffe Hall on Wednesday evening. (Photo by Christian Kaspar-Bartke/Getty Images)

After 11 days together at a training camp in Spain with a schedule which included the pre-tournament friendlies against Netherlands and Luxembourg, the Scottish players were allowed to return to their homes on Monday.

They will reconvene on Wednesday evening at their Euro 2020 finals basecamp in Teesside to complete preparations for the Group D opener against Czech Republic at Hampden next Monday.

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Clarke’s plans were disrupted by coronavirus last week when midfielder John Fleck had to self-isolate in Spain after returning a positive test. As a precautionary measure, six players identified as potential close contacts – David Marshall, Stephen O'Donnell, Nathan Patterson, Grant Hanley, John McGinn and Che Adams – did not travel to the match against Netherlands in Portugal.

But Clarke insists it’s the right decision to give the squad some time off and he is confident they will all continue to follow suitable protocols.

“It’s safe for them to go home and spend time with their families,” said Clarke. “We don’t expect to see any of them going out and about.

“We had six out of the Netherlands game last week, so they know how close Covid still is.

“Since the start, when we brought football back, we have preserved the security around the Covid bubble.

“What happened last week was just an early reminder that the Covid was there. It’s not going to go away this year, I don’t think it will go away next year either. We have to learn to live with it.

“It’s a bit of respite for the players now. It’s important, for a couple of days, to let them go home and relax. It’s just a break they need because it has been an intense period.

“With the Covid situation, it’s better to let them go to their families rather than try to get the families to come to the team hotel or whatever.

“I think it’s a good idea and we will reconvene on Wednesday night at our hotel at Rockcliffe Hall and take it from there.”

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