England coach Gareth Southgate contracted and fought off the coronavirus last month, but he refused to tell any of his players of the diagnosis.
The 50-year-old developed symptoms of the fast-spreading disease, and underwent a coronavirus test at the end of October, which produced a positive result. He was then forced to self-isolate until returning a negative result, hampering his preparations ahead of the Three Lions’ international break.
Southgate self-isolated for ten days, scuppering his plans to attend Premier League matches in person before selecting England’s squad for their Nations League encounters with Belgium and Iceland. But he was able to leave the house again once he tested negative, and according to The Sun, the former centre-back made minimal fuss over his ailment.
Despite concerns being raised due to his age, the ex-Middlesbrough boss decided against telling his England stars about the situation, battling the virus in secret. He was free of the illness by November 5, and was able to hold a Zoom press conference to discuss the Three Lions’ chances ahead of the trio of international fixtures.
He also showed no signs of after-effects or fatigue during his side’s 3-0 victory on Thursday evening. One source commended Southgate for being a ‘professional’, and put his rapid recovery down to his excellent physical condition.
“He’s a professional, he just got on with it. Fortunately he’s very fit for his age.”
It’s not the first time that the England boss has received compliments for his fitness and bravery, though. Extreme survivor Bear Grylls praised Southgate for his ‘commitment and courage,’ when the former defender took part in his ITV programme, Bear Grylls’ Mission.
“The wild always rewards commitment and courage, and Gareth has both of these qualities in spades,” Grylls said.
Southgate is in very good shape and often goes jogging – once famously dislocating his shoulder on a run prior to the memorable 2018 World Cup.