England pair sent home in disgrace
Greenwood and Foden meet women in team hotel in Iceland Pair to miss Denmark trip after breaching Covid rules
Mason Greenwood and Phil Foden were sent home from the England camp in disgrace yesterday after breaching coronavirus rules by meeting women in a hotel bedroom after making their international debuts in the Nations League victory over Iceland.
The pair must now face their furious clubs, Manchester City and United, and will be the subject of a Football Association investigation. They have also been fined £1,300 for breaching Icelandic restrictions. Local police spoke to the pair yesterday before they flew back on the same private jet to England.
England travelled to Copenhagen to face Denmark tonight without Greenwood and Foden, who met the women, 20-year-old model Nadia Sif Lindal Gunnarsdottir and her 19-year-old cousin Lara Clausen, in the Radisson Saga Hotel in Reykjavik.
Icelandic reports claimed separate bedrooms, outside England’s bubble, had been booked and used for the get-together. It is understood England players were staying on the third floor and the meeting took place on level seven.
Videos shared over WhatsApp were said to show the meetings being organised, ahead of it taking place on Sunday evening.
A spokesperson confirmed the
FA would investigate the matter, saying: “Whilst in Iceland, both Phil Foden and Mason Greenwood spent time outside of our private team area, which was a breach of our Covid-19 rules.
“While they did not leave the team hotel, it was an unacceptable breach of our protocol. They have both apologised for their serious lack of judgment.
“The FA will be launching a full investigation into the circumstances leading up to this breach. We have spoken to the Iceland FA to offer our apologies for this incident and to assure them that we are taking the appropriate steps. We have also assured the Danish FA that all other players and staff members have been isolated within our group throughout this period.”
This is the latest in a line of disciplinary issues for England manager Gareth Southgate, following Raheem Sterling’s fall-out with Joe Gomez in the last camp and the decision to drop Harry Maguire from his latest squad because of his arrest in Mykonos.
Southgate insisted he was not losing control of his players, saying: “Whenever there have been issues, whether it’s been as an Under-21 coach or senior coach, we’ve dealt with them internally, so I think we’ve been very strict and firm.
“We like to have a good relationship with the players, but those that have worked with me for a long time know I’m not afraid to make tough calls, so no, I don’t agree that [losing control] is the case.”
Foden is understood to dispute
the fact that he helped to arrange the get-together, with sources claiming he attended Greenwood’s meeting and left after an hour. Both players, however, seem certain to be punished by their clubs who both released statements within hours of the news that their players were being sent back to England.
Manchester City said Foden’s actions “were totally inappropriate”.
“His behaviour not only directly contravenes strict guidelines related to Covid-19, but also falls well below the standard expected of a Manchester City player and England international”.
Foden released an apology on social media: “I apologise to Gareth Southgate, to my England teammates, to the staff, supporters, and also to my club and my family. I made a poor decision and my behaviour didn’t meet the standards expected of me.” Missing the Denmark match “hurts”, he added.
United said they were “liaising with the Football Association and are disappointed with the actions of Mason Greenwood”.
Southgate said he was faced with no option but to send them home. “Unfortunately, it was brought to my attention that the two boys have broken the Covid guidelines in terms of our secure bubble – we had to decide they couldn’t have interaction with the rest of the team,” said Southgate.
“They have been naive. We have dealt with it appropriately. I recognise their age but the world is dealing with a pandemic and there is responsibility on every age group to keep each other safe and not spread the virus and not underestimating the importance of keeping the bubble tight.”
One of the women, Gunnarsdottir, told The Daily Mail: “It was a good night that we had, of course. We were all the four of us spending time together and getting to know each other. They were nice guys. Really, really nice.”
Facing the music: England pair Mason Greenwood (left) and Phil Foden are returning home to feel the wrath of their Manchester clubs Continued on Page 2
Clampdown: Gareth Southgate said the England pair had been ‘naive’