England boss Gareth Southgate ready to take Covid risk and end WAG ban

Gareth Southgate reviews Iran victory

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Gareth Southgate wants to give his England players a weekend with the WAGs despite the threat of a Covid outbreak. Players had been kept away from their families in the build-up to the opening game against Iran – many of whom are spending the tournament on a luxury cruise ship moored offshore.

However, in the Khalifa International Stadium on Monday night they were able to cuddle their children and kiss their wives pitchside after their 6-2 win.

With Covid rife in England during the summer, the Lionesses were banned from contact with their families and they went all the way to the European Championships final.

But with the pandemic still relevant but less of a concern, Southgate is more concerned about his players’ mental health.

“Towards the end, the Lionesses had to batten that down a bit more because they had a few positive cases so we’re going to have to monitor it throughout,” he said.

“But also there’s his balance of the spirit and happiness of the group and the medical line of zero risk.

“Sometimes if you’re going to take zero risks it can kill it for everybody, so we’ve got to try and find that balance.”

England’s next game is against the USA on Friday and Southgate has earmarked a period of family time at some point in the days following it.

“We’re going to see how the next few days go and we’ve talked about maybe looking at something after the second game,” Southgate said.

“But we’ve got to monitor what the rates out here as much as anything else.”

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