England manager Gareth Southgate criticizes ban of Ivan Toney
A week after Brentford’s Ivan Toney was handed an eight-month suspension, England manager Gareth Southgate voiced his frustration about the ban and noted that the striker can still make it on England’s squad for the 2024 European Championship.
Toney was suspended for eight months following an investigation that found him guilty of breaching the English Football Association’s rules on sports betting.
“How do we give him some structure over the next few months that he can develop himself or be a better person at the end of it or have experiences that he might not experience?” Southgate said. “I don’t like the idea that we just leave somebody so they are not allowed to be a part of the football community.”All quotes via ESPN.
The forward was found guilty of breaching the rule 232 times. Along with the ban from all football activities, Toney was fined £50,000.
The footballing ban will last until January 2024. However, Toney will be able to join up with his teammates starting in September 2023. His return to training is still four months away and that aspect of the ban has concerned Southgate in an era where more and more athletes are taking time off due to mental health issues.
By not being eligible to play a competitive match until January, it puts some doubt that he will be able to return to full playing ability by the time Euro 2024 starts on June 14, 2024, in Germany. Southgate has noted this possible issue.
“Yeah without a doubt,” Southgate said. “It is not ideal because he is going to miss a large chunk of the season and you don’t know after that sort of period out how physically he is going to adapt and how he is going to play.”
Despite that, Gareth Southgate explained that there is still a chance for Toney to be called up for England at the 2024 Euros.
“It is possible for him. There would still be time,” he said. “He has impressed us with the way he has played and I like [his] personality. I like his belief and the way he goes about his job. So everything is still possible with him I think.”
Having a healthy and match-ready Toney in the squad would be a big boost for Southgate’s side. The 27-year-old has scored 20 goals with four assists in the 33 matches he’s played. That is the third most goals in the Premier League this season behind Erling Haaland (36) and Harry Kane (28).
Toney has made one previous appearance for England. That came on March 26, 2023, when he came on for nine minutes in a 2-0 win over Ukraine.
If he does return to the England squad in the future, he will add another piece to an already dangerous English attack. The forwards for England’s upcoming fixtures include Premier League champions with Manchester City Phil Foden and Jack Grealish, Tottenham’s Kane, Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka, and Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford.
This group helped England get to the 2022 World Cup quarterfinals in November.
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