Gareth Southgate has explained Mason Greenwood's absence from Friday's England squad announcement, stating that the young forward will have to wait until 2022 for an opportunity to pull on the white shirt again.
The 20-year-old has been in excellent form for Manchester United so far this season, scoring four goals in nine Premier League outings.
However, Greenwood hasn't played for England since making his debut back in September of 2020, having gone on to break Southgate's trust following a notorious incident in Iceland.
While on England duty, both he and Phil Foden broke lockdown rules while in the scenic country, with both players receiving widespread condemnation in the days and weeks after.
And yet, his absence from the squad over a year later seemingly has very little to do with the Iceland incident.
Instead, as Southgate claims, it is a self-imposed period away from international duty, relating to Greenwood's choice not to represent England's Under 21 squad.
"We had a good chat with Mason and his family and agreed we would park this until next year. He wants to play for England," the 51-year-old told the media.
"He is clear about that. We have worked with lots of young players and understand this journey they are going on. It is our job to help these boys to progress and develop aligned with the clubs."
The United star has opted not to represent the U21's so far this season, wishing instead to fully focus on club football.
According to the England manager, it's a decision that the player made along with his family after a period of contemplation.
"He recognises if he doesn't get it right over a longer period, doesn't nail down the situation at the club then maybe there isn't an England career anyway." Southgate stated.
"This is his and his family's only chance [to make a success of his career] and they are understandably a lot more cautious than we might be."
Another forward who has also made himself unavailable for England U21 duty is Callum Hudson-Odoi, with the Chelsea man instead doing all he can to tie down a place in Thomas Tuchel's first-choice XI.
The 20-year-old winger has recently benefitted from Timo Werner and Romelu Lukaku's respective spells on the sidelines, netting against Norwich in the Premier League last month, before laying on an assist for Chelsea's only goal against Malmo in the week.
Speaking about Hudson-Odoi's decision not to represent the U21's, Southgate stated: "We believe he is good enough to be with us."
"He feels he would be best served staking a case for the team with Chelsea. I think he has a better chance of impressing us if he is with the Under-21s as well, frankly."
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