Gareth Southgate said that Mason Greenwood and Phil Foden have to regain his trust before he considers calling them up for England again.
Foden and Greenwood were sent home in disgrace on Monday after inviting women to the England team hotel in Iceland and Southgate, whose side ground out a dour 0-0 draw with Denmark in the Nations League on Tuesday night, is yet to decide whether to include the youngsters in his next squad.
While England’s manager insisted he will protect both players, he admitted he could not understand their breach of Covid-19 isolation rules. It has been a draining camp for Southgate and he gave Foden, the 20-year-old Manchester City midfielder, and Greenwood, the 18‑year‑old Manchester United striker, no guarantees that they will be called up for the games against Belgium, Denmark and Wales next month.
“I’ve got a lot to think about,” Southgate said. “Trust needs to be rebuilt and that takes time. There has to be a consequence to what happened and then we’ve got to try to help them rebuild. Young people err more often than older people do. But that doesn’t mean that you can hold that against them for ever. With the spotlight on them and what their families will be having to deal with, that’s an incredible ordeal for young people.”
Southgate rebuked Foden and Greenwood. “I don’t really understand how players could have felt that was acceptable. That is a puzzle to me at the moment. We talked about a Covid breach. Initially that was what we needed to take control of. We had to act quickly.
“What’s emerged since means that whether there had been a Covid situation or not we’d have been sending the players home anyway. Everybody else needs to understand that’s not going to be tolerated within an England camp.”
Foden and Greenwood were each fined 250,000 Icelandic Krona (£1,300) by police before returning to Manchester on separate flights on Monday and have apologised for their conduct. Yet England could have done with their attacking wit against Denmark.
“I’m sure the boys would love to take it back if they could,” England’s captain, Harry Kane, said. “I texted them both. They could have been in a lonely place. I didn’t want them to feel alone. They know they’ve made a mistake. They’re young boys coming into a big world. It won’t happen again.”