After scandals with orgies and prostitutes involving England players, the anger over Mason Greenwood and Phil Foden sneaking two girls into the team hotel is not over their indiscretion; it is merely more hysteria over Covid laws.
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When Mason Greenwood and Phil Foden took to the field in Reykjavik on Saturday to make their debuts for England against Iceland in the UEFA Nations League, little did they know they would be hitting the headlines for their exploits after the final whistle.
A pair of local girls on the tiny, sparsely populated island of 360,000 had caught their eye, numbers were exchanged, and plans were made to meet up at the team hotel.
In doing so, Greenwood and Foden went against England team protocol, but the only evidence remaining of their after-hours rendezvous is a three-second clip filmed by one guest of the duo sitting at a safe distance, playing on their phones – which hardly warrants the widespread denunciation they’ve received.
The sex lives of England players have long been entwined with tabloid headlines, and the well-worn phrases ‘scoring off the pitch’ or ‘playing the field’ have become tired catches for front page splashes on Three Lions threesomes, orgiastic hot-tub parties and glamour model kiss-and-tells.
So why, if we are so used to the debauchery (and sometimes depravity) of England’s elite athletes, is there such hysteria regarding the off-the-pitch activities of two young and inexperienced players yet to learn the slippery ropes of professional sport?
Put simply, the mainstream media has seized the chance to create a couple of sacrificial lambs for their coronavirus hysteria. The English press were affronted and aggrieved that two players pulling on the white jersey could tarnish England’s pride after making their debut – a sacred sporting milestone – but they were really searching for a scapegoat.
If the media were truly that concerned about coronavirus, they wouldn’t be salivating over every post-pandemic game despite the spate of positive tests at professional clubs and the ridiculous red tape which pandemic measures dictate must be cut before every major match, tournament, television broadcast and press conference.
At 18 and 20 years old, Greenwood and Foden were perhaps born too late into a world gripped by constant moral posturing in the media and politically-charged coronavirus scaremongering that just happened to coincide with the time they came to make the biggest mistake of their professional careers – which are both still, like the players’ lives as young men, only in their embryonic stages.
The pair must be ruing their luck that they were not born exactly two decades earlier, at the time when England internationals Rio Ferdinand and Frank Lampard put themselves and their teammates at real risk of contracting and transmitting harmful and debilitating contagious diseases.
READ MORE: ‘I can only apologize for the embarrassment caused’: Man United starlet Greenwood sorry for sneaking girls into England team hotel
Ferdinand and Lampard, in 2000 not more than a couple of years older than Greenwood and Foden currently, were part of a group that filmed themselves and teammate Kieron Dyer freely partaking in an orgy in Ayia Napa with some intricate teamwork and group coordination that they never quite seemed to muster when representing their nation on the pitch.
They were denounced as “animals” in the press when the footage found its way into the papers, but they “didn’t give a s**t” according to Dyer, and there were certainly no immediate grovelling apologies on social media.
By all accounts, they should have considered themselves lucky; if they’d flouted lockdown ‘laws’ to relax and invite two local women to their hotel at a safe distance, they’d have likely been hung out to dry by the media as an example to anyone else who dares to question the doctrine that we must remain muzzled and isolated.
Ferdinand and Lampard went on to have two of the most successful careers of any English player, and after retirement became some of the most respected voices in the game – the former as a pundit for numerous big-money broadcasters, and the latter as the manager of Chelsea, the club where he spent the majority of his career, and one of Europe’s elite.
Neither Ferdinand nor Lampard had a career or relationship with the red tops that reached such heights as Wayne Rooney, England and Manchester United’s all-time top scorer, Champions League winner and a rags-to-riches boy wonder who took on the world as a teenager; so advanced beyond his years was Rooney that he even employed the services of a sex worker who was also a grandmother.
Rooney was hounded through his career as a call girl connoisseur, so prolific were his visits to prostitutes, all the while married to his childhood sweetheart and mother of his children. Yet all was forgotten when major tournaments came around, and Rooney was lauded in the media as the saviour of English football, the hopes of a nation pinned to his considerably-sized back.
One could only imagine the frenzy that would have engulfed his life if his myriad liaisons with ladies of the night had happened while he, like Greenwood and Foden, had foregone wearing protection on another part of his body. But then again, the woke brigade would have probably saluted Rooney’s generous support for sex workers.
Greenwood and Foden perhaps may have at one time gotten away with their tamest of midnight tales being a mere blip on their career records, rather than be the media whipping boys in a world wrapped up in corona panic which demonises anyone daring to go against stringency over social distancing and mask wearing.
Both apologized, Greenwood for the embarrassment, and one of the girls described them as gentleman, which is more that can be said for their predecessors.
In the current climate of media hysterics, the entire incident begs the question of what will be cured first – the virus itself, or the incessant and irrational virtue-signalling it has spawned.