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Serbia national football team
European Championship | Group Stage
Jun 16, 2024 at 8pm UK
England national football team

0 - 1

Gudelj (39'), Tadic (75'), Stojkovic (83')
FT(HT: 0-1)

England Euro 2024 quarantine measures effective as key man returns to training before Serbia clash

England survive Euro 2024 illness scare as key man returns to training
© Reuters
England receive a huge fitness boost ahead of their opening Euro 2024 tie, as John Stones makes a swift return to training following an illness.

England manager Gareth Southgate has received a significant fitness boost ahead of Sunday's Euro 2024 Group C opener against Serbia, as John Stones returned to training on Thursday following an illness.

The Manchester City centre-back came down with the infection earlier this week and was the only player not to take to the practice pitches on Wednesday, plunging his availability for the weekend into some doubt.

England apparently went as far as to isolate Stones in his bedroom to prevent the virus from sweeping through the squad, and he was subsequently regarded as a major doubt for Sunday's battle with Serbia.

The ex-Everton man had already experienced a disrupted campaign domestically - both selection-wise and injury-wise - and he also had to be taken off in last Friday's friendly loss to Iceland as a precautionary measure following an ankle blow.

At a time where Southgate is already missing one defensive stalwart in Harry Maguire, he can ill-afford to lose another high-calibre defender, but such selection concerns have been eased three days before England's Euro 2024 opener.

The Three Lions confirmed on Thursday morning that all 26 of Southgate's troops were back in training, meaning that Stones has swiftly recovered from his virus and is seemingly raring to go for the weekend.

England defender John Stones pictured in June 2024© Reuters

Stones among 26 players in England training

In addition, confining the defender to his bedroom as part of enforced quarantine measures seems to have worked as intended, as no other players have reported any symptoms.

As a result, Stones will ostensibly be fine to take his place in the Three Lions' backline at the Veltins-Arena on Sunday, where he and Marc Guehi are expected to form the central wall in front of Jordan Pickford.

Southgate is already believed to have a good idea of his first XI in mind for the opening Group C tie, as Kieran Trippier will likely continue to fill in for Luke Shaw on the left-hand side; the Manchester United man is being put through his paces slowly after a serious muscular problem.

The England manager is also believed to be leaning towards starting Trent Alexander-Arnold in midfield alongside Declan Rice, forcing Kobbie Mainoo, Adam Wharton and Conor Gallagher to wait their turn.

Bukayo Saka and Jude Bellingham are also fit and raring to go for the contest with Serbia, whom England have never faced in a competitive or non-competitive setting before.

Southgate's men will then clash with Denmark - their Euro 2020 semi-final victims - on June 20, five days before closing out the section against Slovenia in Cologne.

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England's John Stones in action with Iceland's Jon Dagur Thorsteinsson on June 7, 2024
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Group A

Q Germany Germany32107
Q Switzerland Switzerland31205
3 Hungary Hungary31023
4 Scotland flag Scotland30121

Group B

Q Spain Spain33009
Q Italy Italy31114
3 Croatia Croatia30212
4 Albania national flag Albania30121

Group C

Q England flag England31205
Q Denmark Denmark30303
Q Slovenia Slovenia30303
4 Serbia Serbia30212

Group D

Q Austria Austria32016
Q France France31205
Q Netherlands Netherlands31114
4 Poland Poland30121

Group E

Q Romania Romania31114
Q Belgium Belgium31114
Q Slovakia Slovakia31114
4 Ukraine Ukraine31114

Group F

Q Portugal Portugal32016
Q Turkey Turkey32016
Q Georgia Georgia31114
4 Czech Republic Czech Republic30121

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