Gareth Southgate says Mason Greenwood and Phil Foden need to rebuild trust following the duo’s removal from the England squad for their Icelandic indiscretions.
Greenwood and Foden were sent home following an incident in which the pair invited women to the England team hotel during the trip to face Iceland in the Nations League, the youngsters breaching coronavirus protocols to taint their first call ups to the senior side.
Southgate admits he is keen not to add further to the imposed sanctions on the players who have been heavily criticised in the media, though says the duo must rebuild trust as they bid to bounce back and establish themselves as England players.
“The consequence has been there and they now need support. Everyone is wading in on them. They need help to rebuild,” Southgate told Sky Sports.
“They need to understand the expectations of being an England player. We must help them on that process. We need to build trust and you have got to help young people back on their feet.”
Southgate says he has spoken to both Manchester United‘s Greenwood and Manchester City‘s Foden about the incident and says the players know their actions were ‘unacceptable’, with the pair each reportedly fined £1,300 by Icelandic police before returning to Manchester on separate flights.
🗣"Whether there was a breach or not, we would have sent them home anyway"
England manager Gareth Southgate on Mason Greenwood & Phil Foden pic.twitter.com/0x647EYixo
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) September 9, 2020
“I’ve spoken to both of them as I said yesterday they know what happened is unacceptable on both a Covid basis and, as I’ve learned more details, on any basis. Either way they would have gone home.”
Southgate also refused to give Greenwood and Foden assurances that they would be recalled for England’s fixtures against Wales and Belgium in October, reiterating the point that trust must first be rebuilt after the shame that followed their senior debuts against Iceland.
“I’ll make a decision on that. A lot of trust must be built first. My mindset is not to hurt these boys any more.
“They’re going through that with their families and friends and I don’t need to add into that.”
However, former Manchester United captain Roy Keane has pointed to other England player’s off-field indiscretions and reckons that the young duo should be drafted straight back into the side should their form dictate, saying the pair have ‘already been punished’.
“Gareth makes the point about trust, but trust works both ways,” Keane said on ITV. “Players have made mistakes for England. Sterling was left out but they brought him straight back in. Maguire has obviously been left out. Kyle Walker has made some mistakes. The same with Grealish.
“He’s been asked there if he would bring them back in and he says ‘I’ve got to think about it’. He’s got to bring them straight back in if they are playing well at club level. Why continue to punish them?
“From a football point of view, England will need these two players. I agree, they are young boys and have made mistakes, but why would Gareth feel like he has to punish them more by leaving them out if he’s talking about trust? Trust works both ways. We’ve been there as players and have made mistakes, but what you want your manager to do is back you, and when they do back you feel that you have to repay that.
“This idea that Gareth has got to think about it, I was quite surprised with what he said there. If they are playing well, bring them straight back in because they’ve already been punished.”