Ivan Toney missed out on England’s World Cup squad for ‘footballing reasons’

Gareth Southgate excluded Ivan Toney from England’s World Cup squad on “footballing grounds”, according to the Football Association’s chief executive Mark Bullingham.

Just a few days after missing out on Southgate’s 26-man squad for Qatar 2022, Toney was charged with 232 alleged breaches of the FA’s betting rules between February 2017 and January 2021. The Brentford striker faces a lengthy ban from football if the charges are proven.

Toney has scored 10 Premier League goals this season and was tipped for the World Cup squad as a deputy to striker Harry Kane, but lost out with Newcastle United’s Callum Wilson preferred.

“He was absolutely available for selection,” Bullingham told the BBC. “He was not chosen on footballing grounds.”

Toney is not the first player to have fallen foul of betting rules. England full-back Kieran Tierney was banned for 10 months for giving out information to others about his transfer from Tottenham Hotspur to Atletico Madrid.

On whether gambling was a problem among players at the top of the English game, Bullingham said: “I think our rules are very clear and we have had a small number of cases. Obviously, we will look to enforce the rules when they are broken.”

Toney has until 24 November to respond to the charges.

Brentford said in a statement: “The club has been in discussion with Ivan and his legal representatives about this matter and those conversations will continue privately. We will make no further comment until the matter has been completed.”

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