Greenwood, 18, and Foden, 20, were absent from training on Monday morning after Icelandic media outlet DV published stills and a short video from Snapchat that appeared to show the pair socialising with local women in a room in Reykjavik around England’s Nations League win over Iceland on Saturday. Greenwood and Foden made their England debut in the game.
The players’ behaviour was in breach of quarantine rules but Southgate suggested the activity did not occur in areas of the hotel England are occupying.
In a statement issued to the MEN, United said: “Manchester United are liaising with the Football Association and are disappointed with the actions of Mason Greenwood over this situation.” It is understood United do not expect Greenwood will have to quarantine as there is no travel restriction to Iceland, but a decision is yet to be made over his eligibility to participate in training.
Southgate was unable to confirm whether the elite athlete exemption for quarantine rules no longer apply to Greenwood and Foden after their transgressions.
“Unfortunately, this morning it was brought to my attention two boys have broken the COVID guidelines in terms of our secure bubble and we had to decide very quickly they couldn’t have any interaction with the team, wouldn’t be able to travel to training and, given the procedures, we have to follow. Now they’ll have to travel back to England separately.
“Nothing has happened in the areas that we occupy in the hotel. We’re still getting to the depths of all the information, because this was brought to my attention a couple of hours before training and we had training in between, so I’m still getting to grips with some of the details.
“But what is clear is there was a breach of the COVID guideline. We’ve spent such a long time getting those measures in place and the whole squad have really followed that to the letter.
“We’ve had four tests in the period we’ve been together, our staff have done an incredible job of keeping that secure and tight for the games to be played and safety and security of our staff.
“We have no alternative to do what we are doing. I’m not going into any more details until I am clear of everything. Nobody from outside our party has been into the areas of the hotel that we’re occupying. We’re very clear that no other members of our party have been in contact with those two players and that’s why they couldn’t go to breakfast this morning, couldn’t join us for training.
“We’re very clear in that we followed all the guidelines in that regard. It’s a very serious situation, we have treated it that way and reacted as quickly as we have been able to.”
Southgate added it was ‘too early’ to judge whether the conduct of Greenwood and Foden had damaged their chances of international call-ups in the future.