England national team boss Gareth Southgate has issued a warning to his England stars to appreciate what it means to represent their country after dropping bad boys duo, Mason Greenwood and Phil Foden, to send a “message” following their transgression last month.
Manchester United forward Greenwood and Manchester City midfielder Foden were both trundled home after breaching coronavirus regulations in September when the pair invited local women to the England team hotel just hours after both had made their senior debuts in a 1-0 Nations League win over Iceland.
Southgate was left with no alternative but to leave the lads out of his squad for the forthcoming friendly against Wales and Nations League matches with Belgium and Denmark, and also revealed he had already informed both players they would not be included this time around before they left Iceland last month.
The England boss also said he will talk to his 30-strong squad ahead of the upcoming game about the importance of representing the country when called on to do so.
“What we found in the last camp was lots of new players coming in,” he said.
“So I think that maybe as a reminder when you have got lots of new players that you have to be a little more… not assuming that people are going to understand how you work and pick it up from the rest of the group.
“But I think always you have to work at culture. It never is embedded forever. It’s constantly evolving. The team group is constantly evolving, as players come and go.
“So you have always got to keep affecting that, keep addressing that and we will discuss the shirt, what it means to wear the shirt and some reminders on how we work – but that’s not a case of reading the riot act.
“That’s a case of asking the players what sort of team they want to be involved in.”
Although he may have exiled Greenwood, 19, and Foden, 20, for now, Southgate said they will be available for selection for England’s games in November.
“We have to send a message to all our players in our teams at every age level that that sort of thing isn’t how we do things with England,” he said.
“Then we’ve got to rehabilitate these two boys. Young people will make mistakes. These lads have suffered enough now.
“I think they need this period of reflection but that gives them the opportunity to get back on their feet with their clubs, enjoy their football again.
“I can speak to them after this camp and it will be just be about their form then.”
Southgate was also firm in his refusal to rule out a future recall for Leicester striker Jamie Vardy, who had stepped away from international duty after the 2018 World Cup to focus on his club career.
Vardy never officially announced his England retirement and he finished last season as the Premier League’s top goalscorer, winning the golden boot with 23 goals.
He has started the current campaign in similar form, scoring five in the opening three fixtures and Southgate still has him in mind.
“We know that Jamie is still around and we still communicate a lot,” Southgate said.
“I’m not in any way ruling him out if it’s the right thing at the right time to bring him back into the fold.”
Credit: Football Tribe Malaysia