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

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport - By Matt Law, James Ducker and Ben Rumsby

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’

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