LONDON • England manager Gareth Southgate has confirmed that both Phil Foden and Mason Greenwood will play no part in the Nations League game in Denmark today after breaching Covid-19 protocols in Iceland.
Speaking at a news conference yesterday, he said they had both been isolated from the rest of the squad and would travel back to Britain separately.
Video footage emerged of Manchester City’s Foden and Manchester United’s Greenwood allegedly meeting girls in their hotel room after Saturday’s 1-0 Nations League win in Reykjavik. The footage came to light on Icelandic outlet DV after the girls shared videos on Snapchat on Sunday.
“Unfortunately this morning it was brought to my attention that the two boys have broken the Covid guidelines in terms of our secure bubble – I had to decide they couldn’t have interaction with the rest of the team,” Southgate said.
“We are still getting the depths of the information. I’m not going into any more details until I’m clear.
“These are two boys I don’t know particularly well at the moment so I can’t speak in great depth. I have got to try and speak with them later. They have got responsibilities and they have apologised.”
Southgate also said that the right precautions had been taken while the team are still in Iceland so as not to put the Denmark game at risk. “We are very clear that no other members of our party have been in contact with the two players – (they) couldn’t join us for breakfast or training. It is a very serious situation and we have treated it that way,” he added.
“Obviously they have been naive, we have dealt with it appropriately. I recognise their age but the whole world is dealing with this pandemic. I’m a father with children, young adults, I know people get things wrong. But I’m not excusing that in this instance.”
Both players made their full international debuts against Iceland, Foden, 20, from the start and Greenwood, 18, as a substitute. Like all of the England squad, they were subject to strict Covid-19 health protocols to avoid Iceland’s quarantine rules. These included not meeting anyone other than the England squad and staff during the team’s stay in Iceland.
City issued a statement saying Foden’s actions were “totally inappropriate” and below the standard of behaviour expected of a City and England player.
United also reacted to the news.
I recognise their age but the whole world is dealing with this pandemic. I’m a father with children, young adults, I know people get things wrong. But I’m not excusing that in this instance.
GARETH SOUTHGATE, England manager, on the behaviour of young debutants Phil Foden and Mason Greenwood.
“Manchester United are liaising with the Football Association and are disappointed with the actions of Mason Greenwood over this situation,” the club said.
It is the latest off-field incident involving an England player in recent weeks. United captain Harry Maguire was given a suspended prison sentence by a Greek court after being accused of various charges following an alleged brawl in Mykonos.
For the match in Copenhagen today, Conor Coady, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Dean Henderson, Kalvin Phillips and Jack Grealish are hoping to make their England bows. Kyle Walker’s red card against Iceland and subsequent suspension means Trent Alexander-Arnold is likely to return at right-back.
The Three Lions will come up against many familiar faces, with Leicester’s Kasper Schmeichel, Chelsea’s Andreas Christensen, former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Christian Eriksen – now with Inter Milan – and Spurs’ Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg all in line to feature.