Gary Neville slated for defending Phil Foden and Mason Greenwood's Iceland shame by saying youngsters live 'fast lives'

GARY NEVILLE has defended axed England stars Mason Greenwood and Phil Foden – and has been slammed for doing so.

The Manchester United and City aces were sent home from Gareth Southgate’s squad yesterday after they snuck an Icelandic model and her cousin into the team hotel at the weekend.

The duo have been slated by supporters with both of their clubs also condemning their actions, while the FA are launching a full investigation into the embarrassing incident.

Former United skipper Neville was on Sky Sports tonight to preview England’s Nations League clash with Denmark, and he called for the nation not to come down too hard on Greenwood, 18, and Foden, 20.

He said: “They’ll feel pretty awful. We’ve seen their apologies, and obviously being removed from the squad is something you don’t want at any part of your career.

“You’ve always got to go back into your player mood when you go back in that dressing-room. 

“Mistakes you’ve made yourself, mistakes you’ve seen your team-mates make, and they need love right now.

“They are young lads, they are not robots. Anybody at home who has been 18, 19, 20 will either themselves or seen a friend of theirs do something like that at some point in their life… breach the discipline, let themselves down, have a fight.”

Neville continued: “I get it, it’s not ideal. They’ve made a mistake and they will pay for it.

“But they are two talented individuals, they live on the edge, they live off adrenalin and a buzz, they are fast, their lives are fast and ultimately we can look at it in a number of ways.

“We can try slate them, slag them off and say it’s not good enough, all those things they know are true.

“But there has also got to be a level of tolerance around what they are.

“Yes, they are representing their country, and they will feel really bad and be gutted even more so in about 45 minutes when their team-mates are running out on the pitch and they can’t be there with them.

“And they will feel like the whole world is coming down around them – but it’s not.”

Greenwood and Foden, who were described by the girls as “gentlemen”, were both hit with fines by Icelandic police for breaching strict Covid lockdown rules.

And despite Neville’s plea, a host of supporters took to Twitter to vent their fury at his remarks defending the two shamed players.

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One wrote: “Hahaha Neville trying to justify Foden and Greenwood by saying they live fast lives …..The f*** is that as an excuse.”

Another said: “Surprisingly Gary Neville isn't going in at all on Greenwood and Foden loool.”

A fellow viewer commented: “Just listening to Gary Neville defending Phil Foden and Mason Greenwood ! My reply…….Unforgivable !! No discipline no management !!!”

As another tweeted: “Gary Neville trying to protect Greenwood and Foden…why should they just get a slap on the wrist when we have players like Nketiah, Grealish and Saka waiting for their senior call-up?”

While another wrote: “Neville and Carragher defending Greenwood and Foden here by basically saying "kids will be kids" is f***ing stupid.

“Yes mistakes will be made when young, but this was so unbelievably stupid and they would've known it was wrong from the off.”

Foden became a dad when he was 18 years old and is in a relationship with long-term partner Rebecca Cooke.

Greenwood is single after splitting from his girlfriend earlier this year.

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