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Greenwood and Foden were stupid and senseless… I pray they learn from this scandal

IF you’re waiting for the heavy hand of justice to come crashing down on bad boys Mason Greenwood and Phil Foden, don’t hold your breath.

Football doesn’t work that way.

I’ve been raving about these two youngsters for a while now, Manchester United’s Greenwood in particular.

I’ve been keeping an eye on his progress for the past three years and he looks set to become one of the Premier League and England’s best players.

Foden is one of the most highly rated players of the next generation and will become a star at Manchester City.

And that is part of the problem.

What they did by sneaking two women into the England hotel last weekend was not just silly, rash behaviour by two boisterous young lads, high on life.

In the current circumstances, they could have brought all manner of problems into the bio-secure bubble of the England camp.

The fallout could have gone way beyond embarrassment and shame. It was orchestrated, pre-planned deceit.

We all know what happens when boy meets girl, a few drinks are taken and then things occur. But this wasn’t that.

I have no personal vendetta against these boys. I pray they learn from this episode and, ultimately, it makes them better people.

They were stupid and senseless. England manager Gareth Southgate has said the pair of hot-headed twits need to regain his trust before he can consider recalling them to his England squad.

But when you are players of this sort of calibre, punishments rarely fit the crime. It’s how the system works in our game.

In a couple of months, nobody will probably even mention an incident which put so much at risk for the sake of a few overheating hormones.

That’s because good players get away with things.

That’s how it has been and always will be.

As a former manager, I have to admit being guilty of it myself. When you need your best players out on the pitch, you are caught between a rock and a hard place.

The fact England are involved in a friendly against Wales next and then these two-bob Uefa Nations League matches nobody cares about, makes it even more convenient.

I have an inkling Jack Grealish would have been bombed out of the England squad — possibly for good — if he’d been caught in this situation.

I do wonder if, say, this was Jack Grealish involved in such a blatant breaking of the rules, what this would mean for his international hopes?

I get a funny feeling he is not liked quite so much as Foden and Greenwood.

I can’t say for sure, of course, but I have an inkling Aston Villa’s Grealish would have been bombed out of the England squad — possibly for good — if he’d been caught in this situation.

Players never learn from previous generations, I find. So I would suggest managers need to sit down with young players and openly discuss the pitfalls of losing self-discipline in this manner.

I know about life, especially at my age of 73.

As manager at West Ham and Tottenham, we had characters that tested the boundaries for sure.

One Christmas, the West Ham players came to me and said they planned to hire an open-top bus with a jazz band to take them from the training ground near Romford, into London’s West End.

We were bottom of the league at the time and I pointed out that the route would take them through East London and the West Ham fans digging the road, or working on building sites, would probably lob bricks at them as they rolled past.

They took the point and downgraded their plans to just a minibus up to a nightclub.

Even then we found out later that on the way home, a couple of players had set light to some of the seats.

The club had to pay for the damage but we made sure we fined all the players to get the money back.

At Spurs, there was the famous incident where I was asked in a press conference about the Christmas party and I revealed I had banned it.

Unfortunately for me, I was too late telling the players and the day before they had all gone to Dublin on a bender and got wasted.

Not only was I embarrassed but they had beaten me to it, so I could not punish them as I’d left it too late to lay down the law.

I wish all the best for Greenwood and Foden, I really do.

But they have to realise the magnitude of what they have done first in order to move on.

CHELSEA will have to do better this season.

Frank Lampard is honest enough to admit that as he enters his second year as manager.

But as they prepare for their first game tomorrow at Brighton he has had plenty of financial backing to make sure they improve.

However, regardless of what is spent, if you’re not good enough, you get sacked.

Frank did well with the squad he had last season. Finishing in the top four was considered enough by the owner clearly — or else he’d have been given the boot.

No board of directors takes into account the budget they have provided for players etc. If you miss the targets, you’re out.

I guess that’s what Frank refers to as the ‘non-negotiables’. Well, those targets will have changed this season for sure and Chelsea must finish higher than fourth and get a cup. And I think he’ll take all that in his stride.

CHAIRMAN Daniel Levy says it is time for Tottenham to start delivering trophies. Bet Jose Mourinho couldn’t agree more.

He is a serial winner and will want to target a cup this year to get some momentum building.

Tottenham’s boss should target the EFL Cup. Yes, it is considered second rate by the elite clubs but it can be a springboard to more glory.

The top teams rest their best players and so it could be an easy get — and the fans would love it.

Players will compete for anything. It’s how you drive them in training every week. They want to know there is something at the end for them in return.

Of course, Tottenham could win the FA Cup, too, as they have a great squad.

Go back to last summer and on paper you’d have taken theirs over Chelsea’s.

I say don’t be shy about going for the EFL Cup, Jose. It could be the key to unlocking the door.

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