England boss Gareth Southgate acknowledges Mason Greenwood and Phil Foden will be scrutinised after their coronavirus rule breach but promises to stand by the youngsters.
Greenwood, 18, and Foden, 20, had only just earned their first ever senior caps for their country in the 1-0 Nations League win over Iceland on Saturday.
Southgate knows that the pair will be under the microscope and insists that although their actions were ‘naïve’, he is supporting them.
‘Obviously they have been naive,’ Southgate said. ‘I recognise their age but of course the whole world is dealing with this pandemic and there’s a responsibility on every age group to make sure that they play their part in keeping each other safe and not spreading the virus.
‘We’re certainly not underestimating how important it’s been to try and maintain a bubble.
‘I think the two boys are going to find themselves in a situation, because of where we are with the pandemic, which will draw a lot of judgement from afar.
‘The whole country knows this has been a difficult period for young people and young people are going to make more mistakes than older people.
‘So, whether people like it or not, I’ve got to try and support them through that and I’ve got to try and not add to the difficulties they’ll find themselves in.
‘That said, I’m very clear with them and I will be very clear with them on my feelings, and how they need to respond and how they need to react.
‘But I think that balance is important. They are two very young players and I’m very conscious of that.’