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Gareth Southgate urges "calm" over coronavirus fears

Gareth Southgate urges
© Reuters
England manager confident the right decisions will be made ahead of internationals.

England manager Gareth Southgate insists everyone must remain "calm and sensible" as key decisions lie ahead concerning the coronavirus outbreak.

The Three Lions are due to welcome Denmark and Italy to Wembley for internationals later this month as they ramp up their preparations for Euro 2020.

However, the Covid-19 outbreak could yet scupper those plans, having already led to top-flight matches being postponed in Italy and the Swiss league being suspended until at least March 23.

Southgate said talks are ongoing concerning the matches, and is confident the right decisions will ultimately be taken.

"It's an ever developing story," he said.

"It's a sort of situation where everybody needs to be calm and make sensible decisions and we will always be guided by them.

"As we speak today everything is on and we are planning as normal but those circumstances could change if things deteriorate.

"It would depend on what's allowed to happen and what travel is allowed. We have people constantly looking at the situation and what is possible but I couldn't tell you if the games weren't played for whatever reason we would definitely do x, y or z."

Asked whether there was a prospect of playing the matches behind closed doors at Wembley, Southgate added: "As we stand I think we have to be adaptable and be prepared for every eventuality but we are following, like everybody else, government advice and trying not to get too worried by all the hype to make sensible decisions on hygiene and go from there.

"I'm old enough to have seen lots of these things in the past and it's very easy to over-react, but equally you have to be diligent and follow the right guidelines.

"We would never do anything in our lives if we all flap at the first sight of any problems so let's see how things emerge. It's obvious there are some serious implications for some people to have a situation like this, so it is important not to make light of it, but equally there's danger is everywhere in everyday life."

UEFA Nations League 2020/21 Draw – Amsterdam
Gareth Southgate is prepared for every eventuality (Adam Davy/PA)

Republic of Ireland boss Mick McCarthy was equally calm and measured about the situation.

McCarthy, whose side are due to face Slovakia in a Euro 2020 play-off semi-final on March 26, said: "What I can do about it? Someone just said they didn't think I'd turn up as it's an unnecessary risk but I have just come through Gatwick Airport with thousands and thousands of people and life has to go on.

"I feel desperately sorry for all the people who may have contracted it but my life is carrying on. I'm not going to sit at home and worry about it."

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