Gareth Southgate responds as Foden and Greenwood sent home by England

England boss Gareth Southgate insists he had no choice other than to send Mason Greenwood and Phil Foden home after breaching the team's coronavirus guidelines.

And the Three Lions boss insists that their age – Foden is 20, Greenwood only 18 – is no excuse.

The Manchester City midfielder and the Manchester United forward both made their Three Lions debuts on Saturday in the 1-0 win over Iceland.

But Southgate confirmed that both players broke regulations concerning the biosecure bubble surrounding the England team.

Speaking at the pre-match press conference, Southgate said: "Unfortunately this morning it was brought to my attention that two boys have broken the Covid guidelines in terms of our secure bubble and we had to decide very quickly that they could't have any interaction with the team or travel to training.

"Given the procedures we have to follow they will have to travel home separately."

Southgate added: "Nothing has happened in the areas we occupy in the hotel.

"We are still getting to the depths of all the information because this was only brought to my attention a couple of hours before training, so I'm still getting to grips with the detail.

"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.

"We've spent a long time putting the guidelines in place, and the whole squad have followed that to the letter.

"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."

Allegations emerged in the Icelandic media outlet DV on Monday that the pair were visited by two local girls during the trip.

But Southgate insisted: "Nobody from outside our party has been into the areas of the hotel that we occupy."

On the young duo, Southgate continued: "It is a very serious situation and we have treated it that way.

"Obviously they have been naive, we have dealt with it appropriately. I recognise their age but the whole world is dealing with this pandemic.

"These are two boys I don’t know particularly well at the moment so can’t speak in great depth. I have got to try and speak with them later in the appropriate way.

"They have got responsibilities and they have apologised.

"Unfortunately the two boys are going to find themselves in a situation where there's going to be a lot of judgement of them from afar.

"So it's not for me to make that more difficult for them. They understand their responsibilities.

"They understand they've got this wrong."

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Asked whether the Tuesday night encounter with Denmark could be in jeopardy, 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."

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