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Steve Clarke keen for John Fleck test not to overshadow Scotland camp

Scotland manager Steve Clarke.
Scotland manager Steve Clarke.

Steve Clarke does not want John Fleck’s positive Covid-19 test to overshadow the Scotland training camp in Spain.

Fleck reported a positive result yesterday and will now isolate, ruling him out of today’s game against the Netherlands.

Scotland have been at the La Finca resort in Alicante since the end of last week, to prepare for the games against the Dutch and Luxembourg in Portugal.

Sheffield United man Fleck will now adhere to Spanish government guidelines and self-isolate but Clarke remains positive about the benefits of the camp.

He said: “We don’t know how it happened. But we’re 99.9 percent sure that John would have had it before he came to Spain with the incubation period. Hopefully it’s a one-off and an isolated case.

Scotland midfielder John Fleck.

I’ve spoken to John, he’s fine and has no symptoms. We’ll try and make his time stuck in his room as good as possible for him.

“We’ll get get an exercise bike into his room and keep him moving. We’ll look after him, that’s all we can do.

“But we don’t really want that situation to be the big story. The big story is that we’re in camp and had a fantastic time up until now. The training has been good, everything has been top notch, and the only thing we haven’t really controlled very well is the weather.”

The reality for Clarke and all head coaches heading into the Euros is that Covid will be an ever-present issue.

Clarke added: “I’ve always said it, when we’ve been coming up against teams who have had outbreaks, that it could be us at any time.

Steve Clarke during Scotland training.
Steve Clarke during Scotland training.

“It’s unconfirmed but I’ve also heard that the Dutch have had to send a player home for similar reasons. It’s out there. You’re going to have to deal with it and be reactive.

“That’s why UEFA decided on bigger squads with an opportunity to replace players right up until the first match. Nobody can control what’s out there with this virus.

“All we can do is try and control our own environment and mitigate the risk as much as possible. And also continue good training work.”

In the last week Clarke has also seen Scotland’s group opponents at the Euros, Czech Republic and Croatia, pull out of training bases in Scotland.

The Czechs announced at the weekend they would not be taking up the Oriam as planned, due to Covid restrictions in Scotland, while Croatia pulled out of training at St Andrews on Monday.

Those decisions, however, do not alter Clarke’s plans, with the national team boss happy to keep with their camp in Middlesbrough.

He said: “It’s not possible. We had already signed the contracts. I am delighted with the facilities at Rockliffe and at Middlesbrough I think it will be a fantastic base for the tournament for us. I couldn’t be happier with the training facilities we’ve got.”

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