Gareth Southgate watching games before Qatar from afar due to Covid precautions

Gareth Southgate is watching the final weekend of Premier League action from afar due to Covid-19 precautions that he hopes will not prevent England players from spending time with loved ones in Qatar.

The curtain comes down on top-level club football this weekend as attention immediately turns to the World Cup, which the Three Lions kick-off against Iran on November 21.

Southgate is hoping to avoid any late injury issues to his 26-man squad, who he will not be seeing in person this weekend as the England manager instead watches games on a multi-screen set-up.

“I won’t be going to the games at the weekend,” he said. “We’re just being a little bit cautious about the Covid scenario. It’s probably overly careful but, you know, we feel we should.

“But we’ll be tracking everything. We’ve got a system where we can get all of the games live, so we’ll have that.

“And we’ve got medics at all the games just to make sure if any scans were needed, for example, that we’re onto it as quickly as possible.”

Measures are in place to help stave off the threat of coronavirus in Qatar.

Masks will become more common during the World Cup
Masks will become more common during the World Cup (Nick Potts/PA)

Precautions are logical but Southgate is hoping that will not prevent those in the England camp from seeing partners and families during the tournament.

“We’re still a little bit fluid on that,” he said. “We almost prefer to under-promise and over-deliver.

“We would like it to happen, we think it is a significant part of a team feeling relaxed and feeling comfortable.

“But at the moment none of us know what the transmission rate is likely to be out there.

“Families are obviously going to be mixing in bigger numbers with people at the stadiums and things like that. We’re going to have to track that.

“There might be ways of doing that more securely outside, so we have some plans in place. We want that to happen but need to monitor it quite closely.”