Gary Neville claims there “has to be a level of tolerance” when dealing with Phil Foden and Mason Greenwood, despite them making a “big mistake”.
The pair were sent home from international duty ahead of the game against Denmark following a breach of Covid-19 protocols.
“I am sure at this moment in time they will be feeling awful but they need love right now,” Neville told Sky Sports.
“They are young lads, they are not robots, anybody at home who has been 18, 19 or 20 will have either done that themselves or seen a friend do something like that at some point in their life – a breach of discipline, let themselves down, have a fight.
“They have made a mistake – a big mistake – and they will regret it and they will pay for it. But they are two talented lads who live on the edge, they live on adrenaline, they live off a buzz and their lives are fast. We can look at it in a number of ways. We can slate them, slag them off and say it’s not good enough, all those things they know are true.
“But there also has to be a level of tolerance. Yes, they are representing their country and they will feel really bad. They will feel gutted even more so when their team-mates are running out on the pitch and they can’t be with them. They will feel like the whole world is coming down around them. It is not. Me and you have seen situations like this.
“In six months it probably won’t be mentioned that much. In six years people won’t even remember it happened. The clubs will support them, I am absolutely sure. They will still be loved by their team-mates in the dressing room, they will laugh about it, while obviously knowing they have done wrong. The managers will discipline them. The parents will not be happy with them.
“But they are young kids and we all make mistakes. They have got to live with those mistakes but I guarantee it is their football that will be remembered 20 years from now.”
Jamie Carragher acknowledged that others – himself included – have made mistakes and expects Foden and Greenwood to be back in the squad before too long.
“I have been sent home from England squads before with the U21s,” Carragher told Sky Sports.
“They were different circumstances but four or five of us were sent home and move away from the squad. We weren’t then punished as this was more of a drinking situation after the game.
“We all spoke to the manager and apologised and were back in the squad. I think the lads might find it tough to get back into the next squad. I think Gareth will want to put a marker down there. He’s done it to lots of players – I am thinking of Wayne Rooney when he first got the job.
“There have been other situations with Raheem Sterling and Joe Gomez, so there may be a little bit of punishment to come but I don’t think it’ll be set in stone as these are quality players.
“But if you ask me if I think they should be involved in the Euros next summer then yes I do as they are two of the best young English players coming through. Just because you’re a good player, doesn’t mean mistakes can be forgotten but we’ve all made mistakes.
“They will get criticism deservedly but they should now keep their heads down and let their football do the talking. They will be back in the England squad before you know it.”
Neville believes they will return later in the year, because Southgate, like Roy Hodgson before him, has learnt to be more flexible.
“There was something that Roy Hodgson said to me about setting rules and regulations,” added Neville. “Be very careful about setting rules because sometimes it is the players who you like who break them sometimes. These are two players who this country loves. England will love them.
“So we have a decision to make. Do we say that they cannot play for England again because they have breached discipline. Gareth is not that stupid. He has been through these things as a player and he will bring them back into the squad in either October or November.”