Gareth Southgate has said he believes Ivan Toney “deserves his chance” after including the Brentford striker in his last England squad despite awaiting the outcome of a Football Association (FA) hearing on alleged betting offences.
The England boss named his 25-man squad on Thursday for Euro 2024 qualifiers away to Italy and at home against Ukraine later this month, also handing out call-ups to ben chilwell, reece james and Marc Guehi.
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However, Trent Alexander-Arnold, ben white, Conor Coady, callum wilson and sterling rahim they were all omitted, although Southgate claimed that Sterling’s absence was due to injury and that the Chelsea winger would have been included if he were available.
Sources told ESPN that Toney, uncapped at the senior international level, admitted to some of the 262 alleged betting rule violations and therefore faces a potentially lengthy ban. However, the final hearing has yet to take place and Toney is protesting his innocence in some of the individual cases.
Toney has scored 16 Premier League goals this season, a tally second only to Erling Haaland (28) and harry kane (twenty).
Asked to explain his decision during a press conference at St George’s Park, Southgate said: “The fact is he (Toney) is playing for his club. There hasn’t been a trial yet or any trial so I don’t know on what basis we wouldn’t choose it, really.
“Before the World Cup, callum wilson He had a brilliant run of form, hit form at just the right time and has had a minor injury that has inhibited his performance in recent weeks. IvanIt has been constant throughout the season. He is playing very well. I like his presence in the games. I saw his game at Arsenal, where I thought he was outstanding and he deserves the chance for him.”
White has been left out of the Southgate squad despite enjoying a good campaign with Premier League leaders Arsenal. The defender prematurely left the concentration in the World Cup without playing a single minute in the tournament. At the time, the FA cited “personal reasons” but on Wednesday Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta insisted White was available for selection.
Southgate insisted that both White and Alexander-Arnold were simply behind kyle walker, kieran trippier and James in the pecking order.
“It’s really similar with Ben and Trent. The three guys that are at right backs, we’ve got just ahead of those two. We’re blessed in that position with a depth of talent.”
“It’s the hardest position to pick, although it’s never an easy criteria and it always changes shape a bit too. But Kyle and Trips were the ones that played during the World Cup, they’ve been consistent and Reece is coming back.” he is another great player. We’d love to have that depth at every position on the field, really.”
Walker was listed despite an ongoing police investigation into allegations that the Manchester City defender displayed himself indecently in a bar. Walker is contesting the accusation.
“It’s a tricky situation,” Southgate said. “I have spoken extensively with him. The fact is that, as we sit here at the moment, he has returned to play for his club. There is no conclusive evidence to leave him out at this stage, so I think I have to be very careful in being the moral judge of things.
“We’ve had a couple of long talks and we feel like we want it with us, we feel like it was the right thing to do. But we also know that when you’re an England international, there’s an even higher bar bon in how you do it.” behave and what is expected. I don’t think we’re making those decisions lightly. But we are where we are with it.”