Manchester United and Manchester City have released statements after Mason Greenwood and Phil Foden were sent home from England duty after breaching coronavirus protocols in Iceland.
Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate has confirmed that the duo would not be travelling from Iceland, where they made their senior England debuts on Saturday, to Denmark for Tuesday’s Nations League match.
“Unfortunately this morning 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,” Southgate said.
“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.”
City called Foden’s actions “totally inappropriate”.
“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,” they said in a statement.
“We have also seen the comments from England manager Gareth Southgate. It is clear that Phil’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.
“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.”
United added: “Manchester United are liaising with the Football Association and are disappointed with the actions of Mason Greenwood over this situation.”
Both players will not have to quarantine on their return to the UK but it is yet to be seen whether the clubs will take their own disciplinary action.
England have gone to great lengths to adhere to the coronavirus guidelines while in Iceland.
“We’ve spent a long time putting the guidelines in place, and the whole squad have followed that to the letter,” Southgate added.
“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 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.”
Asked whether there is a question mark over whether the match in Copenhagen will still go ahead, 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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