(Reuters) - England midfielder Phil Foden said he was happy and relieved to repay manager Gareth Southgate’s trust in him with two goals against Iceland on Wednesday, two months after breaching COVID-19 protocols following the reverse fixture.
Foden and Mason Greenwood allegedly met women in their hotel room after a Nations League win in Reykjavik and were sent home while the rest of the squad travelled to Denmark for their next game.
But 20-year-old Foden returned to the England fold and made his first appearance since the incident with two well-taken goals and an assist in the 4-0 win over 10-man Iceland in the Nations League at Wembley.
“That was one of the hardest moments of my life. That’s when you need the trust of your managers,” Foden said in a post-match interview.
“I have a lot of respect for Gareth for playing me tonight and trusting me, I’m happy to repay him with the goals. I was just determined to get back and do as well as I can. I was a little bit nervous at the start but I got used to it.”
Southgate said he was pleased for Foden after he scored his first goals for England and praised the Manchester City midfielder’s fortitude in bouncing back.
“To have the experience he had in September was really tough for a youngster. We all make mistakes, it was a difficult situation to be in,” Southgate said.
“You’re walking back through the door and looking at everyone’s faces and you know the last time you saw them it was complicated. It took him a few days to settle into the camp and start to smile and relax a bit more.
“We know what he’s capable of doing. He’s one of a few that are going to be very exciting over the next few years for England.”
Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Christopher Cushing
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