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Scotland leave six players behind ahead of Netherlands friendly

Scotland leave six players behind ahead of Netherlands friendly
© Reuters
David Marshall, Stephen O'Donnell, Nathan Patterson, Grant Hanley, John McGinn and Che Adams have not travelled with Steve Clarke's squad.

Cautious Scotland chiefs have opted to leave six players behind after flying out to Portugal for Wednesday night’s friendly with Holland as they look to avoid a Covid-19 catastrophe ahead of this summer’s European Championship.

David Marshall, Stephen O’Donnell, Nathan Patterson, Grant Hanley, John McGinn and Che Adams have not travelled with Steve Clarke’s squad to the Estadio Algarve from their training base in the Spanish resort of La Finca.

It comes after the group were found to have been in general proximity of John Fleck, who returned a positive test on Tuesday.

All six have tested negative multiple times – including on Wednesday – since joining up with the national team last week and are not required to self-isolate.

But Hampden bosses have decided not to take them with them ahead of the Dutch clash in order to be “ultra cautious”.

Scotland kick off their first major tournament in 23 years in just 12 days’ time when they host the Czech Republic at Hampden.

The Scottish Football Association’s medical teams carried out a robust risk assessment after Fleck was found to be carrying the virus on Tuesday.

He is now quarantining at their Alicante hotel.

They decided that while the six players were not deemed close contacts, they had been near the Sheffield United midfielder around the team camp.

John Fleck file photo
John Fleck tested positive for coronavirus this week (Steven Paston/PA)

The strict Covid-19 guidelines the SFA are following would even have allowed them to play against Frank De Boer’s Dutch outfit.

But in order to ensure Clarke’s plans are not put in further jeopardy, they have chosen to leave the players out.

Another factor in the decision was the fact only six substitutes are permitted for Wednesday’s game, meaning six players would have missed out on action in any case.

Scotland face Luxembourg on Sunday and Clarke is hopeful he will have a full 26-man squad to choose from as they wrap up their preparations for Euro 2020.

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