Manager Gareth Southgate says that “trust needs to be rebuilt” between himself and Phil Foden and Mason Greenwood after the pair were sent home for breaching coronavirus quarantine guidelines in Iceland.
Manchester City midfielder Foden, 20, and Manchester United forward Greenwood, 18, both missed the goalless draw in Denmark and Southgate will help them “to rebuild” before they can be picked again.
“I’ve got a lot to think about, trust needs to be rebuilt and that takes time,” Southgate said.
“There has to be consequence to what happened and then we have to help them rebuild. That doesn’t mean you hold that against them forever.
“With the spotlight that is on them, what their families will be having to deal with, that’s an incredible ordeal. I have to try and help, with their clubs as well.
“The expectations and responsibilities that come when you wear the three lions have to be clear. It was a more than disappointing sideshow.”
‘That will not be tolerated’
According to reports in Icelandic and other media, Foden and Greenwood allegedly met two women in a separate part of the hotel away from where the England team were staying after the 1-0 win in Reykjavik on Saturday.
The Football Association called their behaviour “an unacceptable breach of our protocol,” with Southgate adding after the Denmark game that even if there was no quarantine in place the duo would still have been sanctioned.
“I don’t really understand how players could have felt that was acceptable,” he said.
“It is a puzzle to me. What is clear is that we talked about a Covid breach and we had to act quickly.
“What has emerged since has meant that we would have been sending the players home anyway. That will not be tolerated in an England camp.”
England captain Harry Kane says he has been in contact with the pair – who both made their debuts against Iceland – and is confident that there will not be a repeat within Southagte’s squad.
“The two lads have made a mistake, it is a lesson learned for any player who comes up to the England team that there is a lot of responsibility and people are watching,” Kane said.
“Everyone makes mistakes in life, it is not something I can control. I am sure the boys would take it back if they could but that is not the case.
“I have texted them both, it is important. They could have been in a lonely place, it’s not easy being in that position.
“I didn’t want them to feel alone, a couple of the boys have texted them to see if they are OK. They are young boys coming into a big world and I know that it won’t happen again.”
‘I’m not concerned about lack of creativity’
England had two shots on target in Copenhagen and needed a 90th-minute penalty from Raheem Sterling to win in Iceland, but Southgate was proud of his players’ efforts.
“I’m not concerned about a lack of creativity,” he said. “Against Iceland there was no space at all. I’ve lost count of how many players we have missing.
“I know 100% what the reaction will be [to the game] but I am proud of the players. We move forwards with four points and two clean sheets.
“It’s been a normal week with England – I’m resilient to it. I was determined we would leave here with something.
“We were a strong team of men, we needed that. The players that are still here did remarkably well to keep their focus.”