England Plans Hit by Stomach Virus Ahead of Chile Friendly

Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistNovember 12, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 15:  England manager Roy Hodgson looks on prior to the FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifying Group H match between England and Poland at Wembley Stadium on October 15, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

England's most senior teams have hit an early snag in their preparations for the upcoming international fixtures after being told a virus had disrupted their accommodation plans.

Gareth Southgate's Under-21 squad have been forced to change their location, per the Daily Mail's Dominic King, moving from their usual St. George's Park base in order to avoid the stomach bug.

BBC Sport confirmed the news on Twitter:

A statement released via the official FA website expounded further:

To date, the England Under-21 squad has not experienced any symptoms related to the virus. They have been on site since Sunday.

However, as a precautionary measure, the Under-21s are moving hotels and the England senior team will now not meet at St. George's Park on Tuesday. Alternative accommodation and training arrangements have been made for both teams.

King's report states that the senior side will instead move to The Grove in Watford and train at Arsenal's London Colney ground, while the U-21s will be based near Milton Keynes, the location of their first European Championship qualifier against Finland on Thursday.

Southgate's side then have a fixture against San Marino and, despite finishing this year's European Championships as one of only two sides failing to earn a single point, will be considered favourites for both.

Lallana Goal vs. Hull City [Via 101GreatGoals.com]

The senior team face friendlies against Chile and Germany, with some surprise call-ups including the Southampton pair of Adam Lallana and Jay Rodriguez.

The Saints duo have been in fine form this season, propelling Mauricio Pochettino's side into the top four of the English top flight and are as deserving as any others based on current form.

As the Daily Star's Duncan Wright suggests, Steven Gerrard won't be risked for the Chile encounter. Instead, it will be Frank Lampard, celebrating his 100th cap, who will take over the captain's duties for the Three Lions:

Two others of those hoping to get their chance will be Fraser Forster and John Ruddy. The Times' Oliver Kay tweeted earlier this week to say that Joe Hart, who's been infamously mistake-prone of late, will start one of the two friendlies, hinting that another keeper could get a shot as well:

England's Under-21 team had been at St. George's Park since Sunday, but with the senior side yet to get settled at the Hilton headquarters, it's suspected that no senior players are among those affected by the illness.