City stars open up on Covid cases

Chelsea and Scotland star Billy Gilmour tested positive for Covid ahead of his loan move to Norwich City

Chelsea and Scotland midfielder Billy Gilmour tested positive for Covid ahead of his loan move to Norwich City - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Norwich City's on loan Chelsea midfielder Billy Gilmour and Canaries' captain Grant Hanley have reflected on their own personal Covid experiences this summer.

Hanley was one of 11 members of Daniel Farke's squad who endured a disrupted pre-season after either testing positive, or having to self-isolate as a close contact. 

Scottish international team mate Gilmour's proposed season long loan to the Canaries had to wait until his period of self-isolation ended. The 20-year-old tested positive in the aftermath of a starring role in the 0-0 Euro2020 group draw against England at Wembley.

Gilmour missed his country's make-or-break final pool game defeat to Croatia, while Chelsea club mates Ben Chilwell and Mason Mount were also ruled out of England's final group fixture after being deemed close contacts.

"I was asking to do more tests but they all came back positive so it wasn't good," said the Blues' youngster. "I had to watch the Croatia game, sitting by myself. I was cheering them on but I was gutted for the lads.

"I felt fine but when I got told I was gutted. 

“They (Mount and Chilwell) were negative but they had to stick to the rules so it is what it is.

“I got a couple of messages from the boys in the team while I was isolating saying they were gutted I was missing out. I just wished them all the best in the last game.

"I just wanted them to do well against Croatia but sadly it wasn't to be.

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"It was a long 10 days but there was football on the television so I got to watch that. That was the only positive.

"I wasn't allowed to train. I couldn't do anything. I just had to stay in my room and watch television. That was it.

"From the high of Wembley to a low that quickly was hard. I was gutted but I was happy I got to go to the Euros, especially after it was the first time Scotland had qualified in so long. It was an amazing experience."

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Hanley did play in that final Croatia game but suffered a first half hamstring injury that delayed his pre-season return, before also testing positive and missing all City's warm up games ahead of the Premier League opener against Liverpool.

"It couldn't really have gone any worse for me,” he said, also quoted in the Scotsman. "Obviously, I had the injury I picked up against Croatia at the Euros so I missed the first couple of weeks training. 

“I did my rehab, got back into team training and there was a pre-season camp planned where there was going to be two or three games. 

“That would have been ideal but just before we were due to go, we had a Covid outbreak at the club. 

“So the camp was cancelled and then I tested positive myself. So I had another ten days in the house which wasn't ideal. 

“I missed all the games and only came out of isolation on the Tuesday before the first Premier League game against Liverpool. 

“What a baptism for me. But I've picked up a lot of experience along the way and learned how to deal with these situations. Physically, I made sure I was as ready as I possibly could be. And mentally I knew what those games would take. 

“I'm coming off the back of that now and I've got the match sharpness back.”

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