Gareth Southgate has called up Ivan Toney to the England squad for the start of their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign, despite the Brentford striker facing a possible FA ban for breaching betting rules.
Toney, who scored his 17th goal of the season in Brentford’s 2-0 win at Southampton on Wednesday, is still waiting for a Football Association verdict after being charged with 262 breaches of gambling rules, with a lengthy suspension possible.
“He’s playing for his club, he’s available,” Southgate said. “There hasn’t been a trial or any judgement, so I don’t know on what basis we wouldn’t pick him.”
Toney missed out on the World Cup to Newcastle’s Callum Wilson, but has edged out the Magpies’ striker this time ahead of qualifiers against Italy and Ukraine.
“Of course as soon as we named the [World Cup] squad he had a brilliant game at Manchester City, which is typical!” Southgate said of Toney.
Southgate also said the selection of Kyle Walker, who is under police investigation for an incident in a nightclub, was carefully considered after a lengthy conversation with the player.
Walker is being investigated by police after allegedly exposing himself in a bar.
Along with the injured Raheem Sterling, Ben White, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Conor Coady and Callum Wilson were absent having all gone to the World Cup.
Chelsea’s Ben Chilwell has earned a recall for the first time since the 10-0 win in San Marino in November 2021. Harry Maguire retains his place despite starting just two Premier League games for Manchester United this year.
Leicester’s James Maddison, whose World Cup was wrecked by a knee injury, keeps his place along with Kalvin Phillips, despite his lack of action for Manchester City.
England travel to Naples to face Italy on March 23 before hosting Ukraine on March 26 in Group C.
Full England squad
Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Newcastle United), Aaron Ramsdale (Arsenal)
Ben Chilwell (Chelsea), Eric Dier (Tottenham), Marc Guehi (Crystal Palace), Reece James (Chelsea), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Luke Shaw (Manchester United), John Stones (Manchester City), Kieran Trippier (Newcastle United), Kyle Walker (Manchester City)
Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund), Conor Gallagher (Chelsea), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), James Maddison (Leicester City), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Kalvin Phillips (Manchester City), Declan Rice (West Ham United)
Phil Foden (Manchester City), Jack Grealish (Manchester City), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Ivan Toney (Brentford)