Welcome to ESPN’s Insider Notebook, featuring contributions from our reporters across the top leagues around the world.
In this edition, there’s the latest news on Mason Greenwood and Phil Foden’s misdemeanour on England duty. Plus: Arsenal are pushing to sign Lyon’s Houssem Aouar.
Jump to: Arsenal push for Aouar | Arteta eager to shift Guendouzi | Atletico say no to Rakitic, Suarez | Private detectives spy on players | Man United’s dazzle kit not a headache thanks to UEFA | United’s Depay option
Greenwood, Foden set for showdown talks with Southgate
Gareth Southgate will hold one-on-one talks with Mason Greenwood and Phil Foden over their meeting with women in a hotel room while on international duty and the English Football Association will back the England boss as he is minded to drop both players for next month’s international matches against Wales, Belgium and Denmark. No decision has been taken with Southgate desperate not to rush to judgement, but sources said he is extremely let down by both players.
Sources told ESPN that Southgate became increasingly exasperated as he learned more about the youngsters breaching quarantine rules in Iceland by inviting two women to the team hotel last weekend. He labelled the incident “a sideshow” contributing to the “mayhem” of the latest camp, subsequently admitting it led to an overtly cautious team selection against Denmark in an attempt to avoid further scrutiny on the squad.
Foden, 20, and Greeenwood, 18, made their international debuts in the 1-0 UEFA Nations League win in Reykjavik and met the women in a different part of the team hotel outside the bio-secure bubble.
Southgate is usually so considered in his media duties but speaking after England’s drab 0-0 draw against Denmark in Copenhagen on Tuesday evening, the 50-year-old appeared to be wearing the effects of a trying international period in expressing his disappointment at Foden and Greenwood’s behaviour.
Senior figures at the FA are said to view the situation as a poor reflection on Foden and Greenwood, not Southgate. The England boss faced questions from the media after the draw with Denmark on whether he had control over his players but the FA believe the correct protocols were in place regarding general behaviour and COVID-19 compliance.
Southgate has fostered a spirit of togetherness and professionalism in the camp and this latest incident is viewed internally as a sign of immaturity in two promising young players rather than a sign of any wider lack of discipline. However, it has been a trying international break for the England boss…