Football

Greenwood, Foden dropped from England for breaching Covid-19 rules

England manager Gareth Southgate said both Phil Foden and Mason Greenwood will play no part in their Nations League game against hosts Denmark, after breaching Covid-19 protocols in Iceland.

Speaking at a news conference, Southgate said they had both been isolated from the rest of the squad and would return to the UK from Iceland separately.

Video footage emerged of Manchester City's Foden, 20, and Manchester United's Greenwood, 18, allegedly meeting girls in their hotel room after last Saturday's Nations League win in Reykjavik.

The footage came to light on Icelandic outlet DV after the girls shared videos on Snapchat on Sunday.

"Unfortunately this morning it was brought to my attention that the two boys have broken the Covid guidelines in terms of our secure bubble - had to decide they couldn't have interaction with the rest of the team," said Southgate, who added that he is still getting more information.

"These are two boys I don't know particularly well at the moment, so I 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."

Southgate also said that the right precautions had been taken while the team are still in Iceland, so as not to put the Denmark game tomorrow morning (Singapore time) at risk.

"We are very clear that no other members of our party have been in contact with the two players - (they) couldn't join us for breakfast or training. It is a very serious situation and we have treated it that way," he said.

"Obviously, they have been naive, we have dealt with it appropriately. I recognise their age but the whole world is dealing with this pandemic.

"I'm a father with children, young adults, I know people get things wrong. I'm not excusing that in this instance."

Both players made their international debuts against Iceland, midfielder Foden from the start and forward Greenwood as a substitute.

Like all of the England squad, they were subject to strict Covid-19 health protocols to avoid Iceland's quarantine rules.

These included not meeting anyone outside of the England squad and staff during the team's stay in Iceland.

Manchester City issued a statement saying Foden's actions were "totally inappropriate" and below the standard of behaviour expected of a City and England player.

United said they are disappointed with Greenwood's actions. - REUTERS

Spain coach Luis Enrique impressed by teen terror Ansu Fati

Spain coach Luis Enrique was surprised by the assured display from Ansu Fati, who became his country's youngest goalscorer by netting in a 4-0 win against Ukraine in the Nations League yesterday morning (Singapore time) .

The Barcelona forward, who turns 18 on Oct 31, scored his first goal in his first start for Spain by making it 3-0 with an effort from outside the area.

"It's not normal for him to have this spark and self-confidence at this age," said Enrique. "But we'll try to manage that so he can help the team as much as possible, just as he did today."

Sergio Ramos had given Spain an early lead by converting a penalty earned by Fati and the defender struck again with a header, while substitute Ferran Torres made it 4-0.

In the other League A, Group 4 game, Germany drew 1-1 with Switzerland. - REUTERS

Lionel Messi returns to Barcelona's training

Barcelona captain Lionel Messi reported for training yesterday for the first time since requesting to leave the club last month.

The Argentinian superstar missed the club's Covid-19 test two Sundays ago and was absent from all subsequent sessions ahead of the new campaign, after giving the club an official notice that he wished to leave.

But Barcelona's all-time top scorer finally appeared at the Joan Gamper training ground yesterday ahead of an evening session, his first under new coach Ronald Koeman, after taking a Covid-19 test at home on Sunday.

Messi, 33, revealed last Friday in an interview with goal.com that he was staying at Barca for the coming season as he did not wish to face a court case with his boyhood club over a disputed release clause in his contract. - REUTERS

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