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England manager Gareth Southgate has said the form shown by Phil Foden and Mason Greenwood after the Premier League lockdown convinced him to hand the pair their first senior call-ups on Tuesday.
"If you are within football then you have known about these two young players for a long time," Southgate said."You only have to speak with their clubs. We have known from our junior teams with England, the impact that they have had. Then the question is at what point do you give them the step up to play."
Southgate said both players made their case in the Premier League's latter months, as Foden and Greenwood became regular contributors for their respective teams.
"Both of them were excellent in the period post-lockdown for their clubs," Southgate said. "Both played in big important matches at their clubs and had a big impact. They have the potential to be England internationals for a long time to come.
"As always that’s up to them, their mentality and the way they play but we have belief in them and we are really looking forward to working with them."
While Fodentook some time to work his way up to becoming a regular under Pep Guardiola, Greenwood burst onto the scene last season and quickly formed part of United's attack at age 18.
Southgate admitted that he didn't see Greenwood becoming a senior England player so quickly, while saying he felt it was better in the past for Foden to stay with England's youth sides to secure regular minutes.
"We felt at times last year, it was better for him to get football with our Under-21s," Southgate said of Foden."There were moments where he wasn’t getting regular game time and we felt that was good for his development. We knew he was a player who was likely to be involved with the England senior team and we feel like now is a good moment to do that.