Man Utd starlet Greenwood asked to 'park' England career until next year, reveals Southgate

Gareth Southgate has revealed that Manchester United starlet Mason Greenwood has asked to "park" his England career until next year.

Greenwood was handed his senior international debut against Iceland in September 2020 as a reward for his meteoric rise to prominence at Old Trafford, but was sent home early from that particular England camp after breaching Covid-19 rules with Phil Foden.

The 20-year-old hasn't played for his country since, with Southgate leaving him out of his plans once again ahead of the Three Lions' latest set of 2022 World Cup qualifiers against Albania and San Marino.

What's been said?

The England boss has now explained the reason behind Greenwood's continued omission, with the United forward having requested not to be selected for the remainder of the year so that he can focus on his development at club level.

“We had a discussion before the camp in September and we came to an agreement,” Southgate told a press conference after naming his squad. “John McDermott [the FA’s technical director] and myself went to United and had a good chat with Mason and his family and we agreed we would park this until next year, basically. We would leave the autumn games.

“If he establishes himself in Manchester United’s team then he is going to be very close to an England squad or an England team so he recognises that. He wants to play for England. He is clear about that.

"We are not not picking Mason because we don’t think he’s good enough or we are not happy with what he requested. We are totally understanding of that and we are happy to wait.

“Also we have seen lots of youth development and this is his and his family’s one and only chance, so they are understandably more cautious than we might be. We believe these boys can be very big players for England in the long term and we don’t want to get it wrong in the short term.”

Who else has missed out?

Greenwood is not the only United player to have been overlooked by Southgate, with Jadon Sancho and Jesse Lingard also missing out amid a lack of regular minutes at Old Trafford.

Kieran Trippier, Fikayo Tomori and Ollie Watkins are the other notable absentees, while Trent Alexander-Arnold, Harry Maguire and Marcus Rashford have all been recalled after injury layoffs.

When addressing Sancho's situation specifically, Southgate warned that he will continue to prioritise players that are turning out week in, week out, for their clubs over more high profile names.

He has also called for some perspective with younger stars like Sancho still at the beginning of the careers, adding: “We can support and back but in the end, you cannot do that forever.

"There has to be a point where you say: ‘OK, the route here is we have to bring in different players who are playing regularly and can perform for us this time around. There is no point carrying lads if we don’t think we can use them.

"These boys are still learning the game, how to be professionals. Jadon is adapting to a new club, a different style of play. So they’re not at the top yet. They’re young players making their way.”

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