Great Britain

Scholes slams Southgate for dropping Foden and Greenwood as England boss insists he had to ‘protect culture’

PAUL SCHOLES has hit out at Gareth Southgate for axing Mason Greenwood and Phil Foden - claiming England do not have enough matchwinners to continue punishing the pair.

Scholes claims Foden and Greenwood have suffered enough for breaking lockdown rules in Iceland by inviting two girls back to the team hotel.

The former Three Lions midfielder wrote on Instagram, before deleting the post: "Two of the best young talents in world football did wrong and have already served their punishment, but England are so clearly blessed with creativity and goalscorers that we might as well leave them out and punish them and the team again."

Scholes finished the message with three sarcastic clapping emojis in a clear dig at the decision to leave the young duo out of the squad to face Wales, Belgium and Denmark.

But boss Southgate says it would have been "impossible" for him to select Manchester City playmaker Foden and United striker Greenwood as early as this month - because he wants to protect the squad's culture and standards.

He has avoided speaking to the pair since they breached coronavirus rules and will only stage talks ahead of the next international break in November.

Southgate stressed it was important to punish the duo to send fans a firm message that poor behaviour from players would not be tolerated — while also warning the squad’s youngsters about the standards required on England duty.

Foden, 20, and Greenwood, 18, were sent home following the 1-0 win in Iceland last month, so missing the 0-0 bore draw in Denmark.

The players know what they did wasn't acceptable... The next discussion with the players is the important one as we have taken the decision to leave them with their clubs this time.

Gareth Southgate

Southgate said: “I had a chat with both of them before we left Iceland to go to Denmark and explained how difficult the next few days were going to be for them so I tried to offer some support.

“But also I was pretty clear that it was going to be impossible to pick them for October.

“I’ll definitely speak to them before the next camp because we were never going to consider them for this one.

“In terms of the broader message, number one, I just think that the last few years we’ve re-connected really well with the public and we’ve got to make sure we protect that.

“And number two, there are standards of working as a team and your culture as a team that are really important to protect.

“The players know that what they did wasn't acceptable. We needed that message to go out to all players who are involved with England at every age group.

“The next discussion with the players is the important one really because we have taken the decision to leave them with their clubs this time.”

Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Harvey Barnes and Bukayo Saka have been given their first call-ups, while Dean Henderson, Kalvin Phillips, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Jack Grealish are among the other newcomers to the party.

As a result, Southgate will remind the squad of their responsibilities at a team meeting ahead of next Thursday’s Wembley friendly with Wales.

England then host Belgium and Denmark in the Nations League.

Southgate said: “Players who have worked with us for a long time know how we operate and know that we won’t duck decisions. But we also have some younger players in the group.

“The team group is constantly evolving as players come and go. So you have always got to keep affecting that, keep addressing that.

“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.”

Harry Maguire is also back in the England squad after he was dropped from duty for the last two games following his arrest while on holiday in Greece.

Southgate added: “I think I said last month there was absolutely no reason we couldn’t pick Harry this time.

“He has been our most reliable defender over the last couple of years, so it was not even a consideration that he would be in the squad or not.”

Gareth Southgate announces England squad with Foden and Greenwood out but Saka, Calvert-Lewin and Barnes in

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