Manchester City midfielder Phil Foden was been recalled to the England squad for their forthcoming matches on Thursday but Manchester United forward Mason Greenwood remains in exile after the pair’s coronavirus protocol breach.
Foden and Greenwood were sent home in disgrace after inviting local women into the bio-secure England team hotel following their international debuts in September’s Nations League clash against Iceland in Reykjavik.
England coach Gareth Southgate left the youngsters out of his squad for October’s matches as punishment and branded their behaviour in the midst of the pandemic as “unacceptable”.
But Foden has since scored three times in six Premier League games, catching the eye with his impressive form for City.
The 20-year-old was rewarded with a recall by Southgate ahead of next week’s friendly against the Republic of Ireland and the Nations League matches against Belgium and Iceland.
Greenwood was not so fortunate and the 19-year-old once again missed out on a place in the squad, despite the absence of injured Southampton striker Danny Ings.
“They don’t come as a pair, they are individual players with their own strengths and individual talents,” Southgate said about his decision to pick Foden and not Greenwood.
“Phil has had a lot of football with his club most recently and Mason has had less game time with United.
“I have had a good chat with (United coach) Ole (Gunnar Solskjaer) about his development and I feel it is better for him to stay at the club at the moment, to develop over the next few months.
“But they are both available, there was no carryover from September, that is done. Both are available for selection and are going to be very good players.”
Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling was recalled as expected after missing the October international break due to a minor hamstring injury.
Manchester United keeper Dean Henderson is the only uncapped player in Southgate’s 29-man squad, with Jordan Pickford selected despite his poor form for Everton, which led to Robin Olsen replacing him in goal last weekend.
Southgate is adamant Pickford will stay as his first-choice keeper despite his spate of errors at Everton.
“When people say I have been loyal to him, he has deserved that. His performances have been excellent and that has not been a difficult decision for me,” he said.
“We have some competition for places, but I would have to say that there is nobody who I think is challenging at the moment to push him out of that position.”
Chelsea right-back Reece James and Manchester United centre-back Harry Maguire are included after the pair were sent off as England lost 1-0 to Denmark in their previous match.
James was sent off for dissent after the final whistle against Denmark and Southgate warned him to learn from an incident that means he must serve a suspension.
“He has of course to learn from what happened at the end of that Denmark game. It is not acceptable and has cost him the opportunity to play in some of the qualifiers for us, but we were very impressed, as we have been with his club form,” Southgate said.
Having selected a larger than normal squad due to England playing three games rather than two, Southgate said he was pleased with the opportunity to take a closer look at more players.
“Clearly managing the three games is a challenge, the friendly gives us another opportunity to find out about people, which we have done over the past few months,” Southgate said.
“We are trying to balance not too big a squad on match days, but equally some boys would not normally have the opportunity to be with us.
“It is a good experience for us, we will learn a lot about the players and there are some good games to look forward to.”