Manchester United asked for Mason Greenwood to be rested and not called up by England for Nations League duty, says manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Greenwood, 18, made his senior debut against Iceland on 5 September having made 50 appearances in all competitions for United last season.
He and Manchester City’s Phil Foden were later sent home from the England squad for breaking coronavirus rules.
“I tried my best to give him a rest over the summer,” said Solskjaer.
“We asked specifically and pointed out he should have had a rest.
“He needs it mentally and physically after that season he had. It’s [the FA’s] right to call him up. But you don’t have to put him in front of the world cameras.
“We’ve done whatever we can to protect him and I will keep on helping him.”
Forward Greenwood apologised for the “embarrassment he had caused” in Iceland, and later had to release a statement about his “poor judgement” when he inhaled nitrous oxide, after “historical pictures” of him doing so were published in a newspaper.
BBC Sport understands the FA told United of the intention to make Greenwood available for interview before the Iceland game and the club did not object.
In addition, the FA has regular dialogue with all clubs regarding the welfare of their players and it was felt Greenwood was fine to be selected as no formal request was made for him to be omitted.
Solskjaer accepts Greenwood was wrong but feels a wider view needs to be taken of the youngster.
“I’m not saying it was their fault,” he said. “Of course he has made some mistakes but it’s us, the grown-ups. We need to make decisions that benefit him.”
Solskjaer confirmed that Greenwood would be involved in United’s Premier League season-opener against Crystal Palace on Saturday.
“With the testing and Covid protocols, he trained by himself for a little while. We had some tests done and as soon as possible he was with us. He’s a big part of this group,” Solskjaer added.
“This is where he feels at home. He’s not comfortable, we challenge him, we’ve got people looking after him.”
He added: “We have to understand he’s an 18-year-old kid who needs managing.”
Maguire ‘training well and focused’
England’s Nations League campaign also saw United captain Harry Maguire dropped from Gareth Southgate’s squad just hours after being selected following his arrest on the Greek island of Mykonos.
Maguire, 27, was given a suspended prison sentence after being found guilty of aggravated assault, resisting arrest and repeated attempts of bribery. He maintains his innocence and has appealed against the decision, which nullifies the conviction.
“Knowing Harry, he’s a very strong character so hopefully he can put that apart,” said Solskjaer.
“But, naturally, as a human being it will be in the back of his mind what’s happened this summer.
“Personally, I think he will be able to focus on his football but you can’t predict how people will react. But so far he’s trained well, he’s been focused.”
Solskjaer refuses to ‘speculate’ about Sancho
Solskjaer refused to be drawn on the ongoing transfer saga between United and Borussia Dortmund over England winger Jadon Sancho.
It is understood United can meet the 20-year-old’s personal terms, but there is no agreement over a fee, and the Bundesliga side are increasingly confident of keeping him.
“You know I can’t say anything about other clubs’ players out of respect to them. I can’t speculate,” Solskjaer said.
“But we understand that to get even further, one, we need to develop what we have, and two, we’re also looking to strengthen the team.
“I’ve been in dialogue with the club, of course, but life isn’t a straight line. There are still a few weeks left in the transfer window. Let’s see if we can add to what we have.”
This article was previously published on BBC Sport