Don't be Covidiots! Southgate issues stark warning to England players

Don’t be Covidiots! Gareth Southgate issues stark warning to England players over breaching coronavirus rules ahead of international fixtures

  • Gareth Southgate has seen plans for his previous two England squads disrupted  
  • Phil Foden and Mason Greenwood brought two women back to their team hotel 
  • Tammy Abraham, Jadon Sancho and Ben Chilwell attended a party last month
  • The Three Lions boss has urged his players to avoid breaching more measures 

Gareth Southgate has warned his England players not to breach Covid rules this weekend ahead of three international fixtures this month.

The England boss, who recalled coronavirus rule-breaker Phil Foden on Thursday but omitted another, Mason Greenwood, has seen his plans for the previous two squads ravaged by players not adhering to pandemic regulations.

In September, Foden and Greenwood brought two women back to the team hotel in breach of Covid protocols, while last month Tammy Abraham, Jadon Sancho and Ben Chilwell broke UK rules by attending a party just hours before they were due to report for duty at St George’s Park.

Gareth Southgate has warned his England players not to breach Covid rules this weekend

Phil Foden earned a recall in Southgate’s latest squad for three England fixtures this month

England face the Republic of Ireland at Wembley next Thursday followed by Nations League games in Belgium on Sunday week and Iceland at home three days later.

Southgate said: ‘We want to be going into next week’s camp just able to focus on football as much as we possibly can and it would be very helpful for all of us if the players recognise that over the weekend.

‘I think that we had some very good conversations as a group last time, not only about the current situation but also responsibilities and the attention that comes upon you as an England player.

Southgate has seen his plans for his last two squads disrupted by players flouting restrictions

‘The rules for everybody in the country are very different and we have got to recognise that we are in a privileged position to be able to continue to do our job and that others aren’t as fortunate.’

Southgate’s decision to hand 20-year-old Foden a reprieve but not Greenwood, 19, was the headline news from the squad announcement. The pair were not considered for the previous games against Wales, Belgium and Denmark as punishment for the incident in Iceland.

Sportsmail revealed last Friday that Southgate intended to call on Manchester City’s Foden but Greenwood’s re-integration into the squad was less certain.

Southgate was adamant on Thursday that the omission of Manchester United’s Greenwood from both the senior and Under 21 squads was not an extension of the disciplinary procedures that ruled him out last month.

The Three Lions boss insists Mason Greenwood’s absence was not due to disciplinary reasons

‘Phil and Mason don’t come as a pair,’ said Southgate. ‘They are individual players with their own strengths and individual talents. Phil has had quite a lot of football with his club recently and Mason has had less game time with United.

‘I’ve had a good chat with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer about Mason’s development and I feel it’s better for him to stay with the club at the moment.

‘But they were both available. There’s no carry over from what happened in September. That’s done.

‘So, the timeline is different for them, but they are now judged on the football, their development and how they are progressing.’

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