England footballers Mason Greenwood and Phil Foden will not travel for the national team’s 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.
Both players were absent from training on Monday morning – two days after they made their England debuts against Iceland in a UEFA Nations League fixture.
Asked about the reports, which first appeared on Icelandic website DV433.is, 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 [Foden is 20, Greenwood is 18] 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.”
Asked if the duo had invited girls to their rooms as the website claims, Southgate, who said he is “still getting to grips with the detail” of the incident, added “nothing has happened in the areas we occupy in the hotel.
“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 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.