Phil Foden and Mason Greenwood have been dropped from the England squad having “broken the Covid guidelines” in Iceland amid allegations they invited girls back to their hotel room.
The pair, who made their senior international debuts during a UEFA Nations League opener in Reykjavik that the Three Lions won 1-0, will not play any part in a meeting with Denmark on Tuesday.
Both Manchester City midfielder Foden and Manchester United attacker Greenwood were absent from team training on Monday.
England manager Gareth Southgate confirmed later that the Football Association (FA) had opted to take action after discovering the duo hadn’t adhered to strict rules intended to prevent coronavirus infections.
“Unfortunately this morning it was brought to my attention that two boys have broken the Covid guidelines in terms of our secure bubble and so we had to decide very quickly that they couldn’t have any interaction with the team,” he told reporters.
“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.
“We are very clear that no other members of our party have been in contact with the two players – couldn’t join us for breakfast or training. It is a very serious situation and we have treated it that way.
“I think at the moment I’m trying to take a lot of information in. Obviously they have been naive, we have dealt with it appropriately. I recognise their age but the whole world is dealing with this pandemic.”
Back in the UK, Man Utd released a statement which reads: “Manchester United are liaising with the Football Association and are disappointed with the actions of Mason Greenwood over this situation.”
The Icelandic media reported in the wake of Saturday’s contest, which was settled by Raheem Sterling’s late penalty, that Foden and Greenwood had played host to unscheduled visitors.
The girls in question are said to have posted images on Snapchat which showed the City midfielder and United forward in the room they shared on international duty.
DV broke the news, with those in question said to have been left “devastated” that their actions are set to impact on the careers of Foden and Greenwood.
England have been left with little choice but to punish the pair for inviting outsiders into carefully constructed ‘bubbles’.
Foden was handed a starting berth by Southgate for the narrow win over Iceland, while Greenwood was introduced off the bench.