England call up Ivan Toney for Euro 2024 qualifiers despite threat of FA ban

Brentford striker still waiting for Football Association verdict after being charged with 262 breaches of gambling rules

Ivan Toney has scored 16 goals for Brentford in the Premier League this season. Getty
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England manager Gareth Southgate has recalled Ivan Toney despite the Brentford striker having a potential ban for breaking Football Association gambling rules hanging over his head.

In what will be England's first matches since losing to France in the World Cup quarter-finals last December, Southgate has decided to call-up Toney, who scored his 16th Premier League goal of the season in Brentford's 2-0 win at Southampton on Wednesday.

The Three Lions travel to European champions Italy on March 23 and host Ukraine at Wembley three days later and Toney – behind only Erling Haaland (28) and England captain Harry Kane (20) in the top-flight scoring charts – has been named in the 25-man squad.

Chelsea defenders Ben Chilwell and Reece James have also been recalled after they missed the World Cup due to injury. There was no room for Liverpool full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold, Arsenal defender Ben White or Chelsea attacker Raheem Sterling, but Manchester City's Kyle Walker made the cut.

ENGLAND SQUAD

Goalkeepers Pickford (Everton), Pope (Newcastle), Ramsdale (Arsenal)

Defenders Chilwell (Chelsea), Dier (Tottenham), Guehi (Crystal Palace), James (Chelsea), Maguire (Man United), Shaw (Man United), Stones (Man City), Trippier (Newcastle), Walker (Man City)

Midfielders Bellingham (Dortmund), Gallagher (Chelsea), Henderson (Liverpool), Maddison (Leicester), Mount (Chelsea), Phillips (Man City), Declan Rice (West Ham)

Forwards Foden (Man City), Grealish (Man City), Kane (Tottenham), Rashford (Man United), Saka (Arsenal), Toney (Brentford)

Manchester United centre-back Harry Maguire, Chelsea midfielder Mason Mount and Kalvin Phillips of Manchester City all retain their places despite limited time on the field at their respective clubs.

But it is the inclusion of Toney that will cause the most intrigue, as the 27-year-old is still waiting for a FA verdict after being charged with 262 breaches of FA gambling rules, with a lengthy suspension possible.

He missed out for the tournament in Qatar – having been in the squad for Nations League games against Germany and Italy in September without playing.

“There hasn't been a trial yet or any judgment so I don' know on what basis we wouldn't pick him really,” Southgate said on Thursday.

“Ivan has been consistent throughout the season. He is playing really well. I like his presence in games. I saw his game against Arsenal where he was outstanding and he deserves his opportunity.”

Walker is also in, despite being the subject of a police investigation after a newspaper alleged he exposed himself in a bar. “I have spoken at length with him,” said Southgate. “The situation at the moment is he's playing with his club and there's no conclusive evidence at this stage.

“I have to be careful being the moral judge on things. We have had a couple of long conversations and we feel we want him with us.

“When you are an England international there's a higher bar on what is expected and we don't take those decisions lightly.”

Full-backs James and Chilwell would have been in contention for starting spots at the World Cup had it not been for injuries while Southgate favourite Sterling is only missing this time due to a hamstring problem.

There are five players absent who went to the finals: Alexanader-Arnold, White, Sterling, Wolves defender Conor Coady and Newcastle striker Callum Wilson.

Southgate admitted Alexanader-Arnold and White are behind Tripper, Walker and James in the pecking order at right-back – and he also explained why the likes of Maguire and Phillips were picked despite their lack of action for their clubs

“We've got to pick our best players where possible and there's a balance,” he said. “Do you go with a level of player who's physically fit but not doing well and being selected?

“You have to pick your best players as long as they can get to a reasonable physical level. We're shorter than other nations in depth of selection but I'm happy.”

France beat England at World Cup

Updated: March 17, 2023, 5:58 AM
ENGLAND SQUAD

Goalkeepers Pickford (Everton), Pope (Newcastle), Ramsdale (Arsenal)

Defenders Chilwell (Chelsea), Dier (Tottenham), Guehi (Crystal Palace), James (Chelsea), Maguire (Man United), Shaw (Man United), Stones (Man City), Trippier (Newcastle), Walker (Man City)

Midfielders Bellingham (Dortmund), Gallagher (Chelsea), Henderson (Liverpool), Maddison (Leicester), Mount (Chelsea), Phillips (Man City), Declan Rice (West Ham)

Forwards Foden (Man City), Grealish (Man City), Kane (Tottenham), Rashford (Man United), Saka (Arsenal), Toney (Brentford)

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