UEFA Nations League: England drop Phil Foden, Mason Greenwood for COVID-19 rule breaches

A video posted on social media in Iceland showed Foden and Greenwood meeting women from outside the team bubble. Reports said they had brought them back to England's team hotel, but the manager said that was not the case.

The Associated Press September 07, 2020 20:27:32 IST
UEFA Nations League: England drop Phil Foden, Mason Greenwood for COVID-19 rule breaches

London: England players Phil Foden and Mason Greenwood were sent home and dropped for Tuesday's game against Denmark after breaching coronavirus rules in Iceland.

Foden and Greenwood both made their England debuts in the 1-0 victory over Iceland in the Nations League on Saturday.

But they will return to England from Reykjavik rather than travelling to Copenhagen on Monday after social media video was published in Iceland purporting to show the players meeting women from outside the team bubble.

“Unfortunately this morning it was brought to my attention that two of the boys have broken the COVID guidelines in terms of our secure bubble,” England coach Gareth Southgate said. “So we had to decide very quickly that they couldn’t have any interaction with the rest of the team and and wouldn’t be able to travel to training.”

Southgate said the players did also not join the rest of the squad for breakfast on Monday.

“They have been naive,” said Southgate, who was unable to confirm if the 18-year-old Greenwood and 20-year-old Foden had left the team hotel in Iceland.

“We are 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 or join us for training. We are very clear we have followed all the guidelines in that regard."

The England traveling group, which is regularly tested for COVID-19 , was exempt from the Icelandic requirements to quarantine for five days on arrival.

“Given the procedures we have to follow now they will have to travel back to England,” Southgate said.

UEFA Nations League England drop Phil Foden Mason Greenwood for COVID19 rule breaches

England's Phil Foden (right) runs with the ball during the UEFA Nations League match against Iceland on Saturday. AP Photo

Both players will now return to their clubs in Manchester.

Manchester United said it was “disappointed” by Greenwood’s conduct. Foden's conduct was branded “totally inappropriate” by his club, Manchester City.

“His behavior 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,” City said in a statement. “The club supports the FA (Football Association) regarding this incident, and officials from the club are now in touch in relation to Phil’s enforced early return to the UK”

The need for players to limit the risk of being infected was highlighted Monday by City also announcing that two players — Riyad Mahrez and Aymeric Laporte — had tested positive for the coronavirus .

The players have not displayed any symptoms and are in self-isolation two weeks before City starts its season against Wolverhampton Wanderers on 21 September.

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