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England’s Greenwood and Foden dropped for breaking coronavirus rules

Written by on 7 September 2020

England footballers Mason Greenwood and Phil Foden have been dropped from the squad for the upcoming match against Denmark after breaking coronavirus protocols.

The Football Association (FA) is investigating media reports that the pair breached restrictions by meeting two local women while the squad were staying at a hotel in Reykjavik, Iceland.

Manchester City midfielder Foden, 20, and Manchester United forward Greenwood, 18, missed training on Monday morning – two days after they made their England debuts against Iceland in a UEFA Nations League fixture.

Mason Greenwood shoots during England’s Nations League game against Iceland on Saturday
Phil Foden made his full England debut in Saturday's 1-0 win in Iceland
Phil Foden made his full England debut in Saturday’s 1-0 win in Iceland

Asked about the reports, which first appeared on Icelandic website, manager Gareth Southgate said: “Two boys have broken COVID guidance in terms of our secure bubble, so we have had to decide very quickly that they won’t have any contact with the team.

“Given the procedures we have to follow now, they have to travel back to England separately. They’ve been naive,” the manager added.

“I recognise their age but the whole world is dealing with this pandemic and there’s responsibility on every age group in playing their part and not spreading the virus. They have apologised.”

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

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“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,” City said in a statement.

Asked if the duo had invited girls to their rooms as the Icelandic website claims, Southgate said he was “still getting to grips with the detail” of the incident”.

He added: “What is clear is there is a breach of the COVID-19 guidelines. The whole squad have really followed that to the letter. I’m not going into any more details until I’m aware of everything.

Gareth Southgate presser
England manager Gareth Southgate says the pair have been ‘naive’

“We’ve had four tests in the period we’ve been together, our staff have done an incredible job of keeping it secure and tight, which was so important both to get the games played and also for the safety and security of our team and staff.

“So in that respect we have no alternative but to do what we are doing.”

Asked whether the match in Copenhagen may now be called off, Southgate said: “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.

“It’s a very serious situation and we have treated it that way and acted as quickly as we have been able to.