The Scotsman

England ban­ish ‘naive’ pair Green­wood and Fo­den

● Within 48 hours of win­ning their first caps, the play­ers broke Covid pro­to­cols by meet­ing girls ● An­gry South­gate says duo were ex­pelled from bio-bub­ble and didn’t mix with rest of his squad

- By SIMON PEACH in Copen­hagen Sports · Soccer · England national football team · England · Mason Greenwood · Iceland · Manchester City Football Club · Manchester · Manchester United F.C. · Reykjavik · Denmark · Denmark national football team · The Football Association · United Kingdom · Copenhagen · Harry Maguire · Premier League (England) · Greenwood · Mason · Gareth Southgate

Phil Fo­den and Ma­son Green­wood have been sent home by England for what Gareth South­gate called a “very se­ri­ous” breach of coron­avirus reg­u­la­tions, lead­ing to a pub­lic re­buke of the apolo­getic play­ers by their clubs.

Within 48 hours of mak­ing their England de­but against Ice­land, the Manch­ester City play maker and Manch­ester United for­ward are hav­ing to leave the camp after breach­ing the strict bio-bub­ble in Reyk­javik.

Al­le­ga­tions emerged in the Ice - landic me­dia yes­ter­day that Fo­den and Green­wood had spent time with two girls dur­ing the trip, with me­dia out­let DV pub­lish­ing pur­ported footage filmed by one of them.

South­gate re­fused to con­firm the ex­act na­ture of the breach but un­der­lined England’s rapid re­sponse when it be­came clear that the duo had jeop­ar­dised the strin­gent Covid-19 mea­sures.

“Un­for­tu­nately this morn­ing it was brought to my at­ten­tion that the two boys have bro­ken the Covid guide - lines in terms of our se­cure bub­ble,” the England man­ager said.

“And so we had to de­cide very quickly that they couldn’t have any in­ter­ac­tion with the rest of the team, wouldn’t be able to travel to train­ing.

“Given the pro­ce­dures that we have to fol­low now, they’ll have to travel back to England separately.”

South­gate said noth­ing hap­pened in the ar­eas that England oc­cu­pied in the ho­tel and it is un­der­stood the in­ci­dent oc­curred in a dif­fer­ent part of the property rather than off the premises.

Asked if the pair had put tonight’s Na­tions League clash against Den­mark in jeop­ardy, South­gate said: “We’ re very clear that no other mem­bers of our party have been in con­tact with those two play­ers.

“That’ s why they couldn’ t go to break­fast this morn­ing, they couldn’t join us for train­ing, so we’ re very clear that we have fol­lowed all the guide­lines in that re­gard. It’s a very se­ri­ous sit­u­a­tion and we have treat-edit that way and have acted as quickly as we have been able to.”

The young­sters’ be­hav­iour has not only gone down badly with the Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion but their re­spec­tive Pre­mier League clubs, with City swiftly con­demn­ing Fo­den’s be­hav­iour.

“Manch­ester City FC are aware of the story which has emerged to­day from the England na­tional team camp in re­la­tion to the be­hav­iour of Phil Fo­den,” read a state­ment from the club.

“We have also seen the com­ments from England man­ager Gareth South­gate.

“It is clear that Phil’s ac­tions were to­tally in­ap­pro­pri­ate. His b ehav - iour 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.

“The club sup­ports the FA re­gard­ing this in­ci­dent, and of­fi­cials from the club are now in touch in re­la­tion to Phil’s en­forced early re­turn to the UK. We have no fur­ther com­ment to make on this mat­ter.”

Manch­ester United re­leased a state­ment at a sim­i­lar time, say­ing: “We are li­ais­ing with the Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion and are dis­ap­pointed with the ac­tions of Ma­son Green­wood over this sit­u­a­tion.”

It is be­lieved that United want to es­tab­lish the full facts be­fore de­cid­ing on any dis­ci­plinary ac­tion – just as South­gate is hav­ing to do be­fore de­cid­ing what kind of pun­ish­ment to mete out.

“This is a job like no other in terms of the things you have to deal with,” the England man­ager said. “All man­age­ment roles are dif­fi­cult. This is an­other level of the things you have to deal with.

“In terms of what’s ex­pected, I think the play­ers that have been with us for a longer time know ex­actly what’s ex­pected and what we’re pre­pared to go with as a coach­ing team, in par­tic­u­lar, but as a wider staff [too].

“And I think when­ever peo­ple have stepped across that line when they’ve been with us, we’ve dealt

“They couldn’t go to break­fast, they couldn’t join us for train­ing. We fol­lowed all the guide­lines. It’s a very se­ri­ous sit­u­a­tion and we have treated it that way and have acted as quickly as we have been able to”

with it ap­pro­pri­ately. We can’t be re­spon­si­ble for things that peo­ple do when they’re not with us. That’s their re­spon­si­bil­ity and at that time their clubs. Peo­ple will have a view I am sure but I think we’ve been firm when we’ve needed to be.”

South­gate re­fused to di­vulge the de­tails of his short dis­cus­sion with the “naive” duo, who he plans to speak to again “later in the ap­pro­pri­ate way”.

“They’ve got re­spon­si­bil­i­ties, they have apol­o­gised ,” he added .“But ev­ery­thing has hap­pened so quickly that I am ob­vi­ously speak­ing to you as was pre-planned.

“The rest, we’ve got to get to the bot­tom of all the facts.”

South­gate was stony-faced in yes­ter­day’s de­layed press con­fer­ence nom­i­nally pre­view­ing the Na­tions League match in Copen­hagen, with his dis­ap­point­ment as pal­pa­ble as his frus­tra­tion. Fo­den and Green­wood’ s ac­tions have added just an­other level of dif­fi­culty to what has been the most chal­leng­ing camp of the England man­ager’s reign.

“I am hard­ened to it, re­ally,” said South­gate, who has had to jug­gle fit­ness con­cerns, Covid-19 mea­sures and se­lec­tion headaches as well as Manch­ester United cap­tain Harry Maguire’s early with­drawal.

“I am to­tally fo­cused on pre­par­ing the team for the game. I have to make de­ci­sions around that all the time.

“As a foot­ball man­ager, you’ re al­ways deal­ing with sit­u­a­tions that are out­side of your con­trol and things that have the po­ten­tial to dis­tract the team from the game.

“But we’ve got a game that we want to go and win to­mor­row night and amidst ever y thing else I’ve got to make sure the fo­cus is on the play­ers that are go­ing to be here and that they’re pre­pared prop­erly for the game.”

 ??  ?? 1 Ma­son Green­wood, left, and Phil Fo­den will need to travel home separately from the rest of the England squad and will play no part in this evening’s Na­tions League clash with Den­mark in Copen­hagen.
1 Ma­son Green­wood, left, and Phil Fo­den will need to travel home separately from the rest of the England squad and will play no part in this evening’s Na­tions League clash with Den­mark in Copen­hagen.
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