England squad could still include Ivan Toney and Kyle Walker despite off-field issues: report
Gareth Southgate reportedly won't let controversy surrounding the two players influence his squad selection
The first England squad since World Cup 2022 is set to be announced on Thursday 16 March, and Gareth Southgate reportedly won't be influenced by off-field issues involving Ivan Toney and Kyle Walker when it comes to his selections.
England are due to play Italy away on March 23 for their opening game of the Euro 2024 qualifiers, before hosting Ukraine at Wembley three days later.
Southgate will only have a squad of 23 players at his disposal, though, meaning plenty of talented players could miss out on making the final roster. Regardless, the England manager won't let issues away from football influence his decision-making, according to Sky Sports News (opens in new tab).
Ivan Toney is currently facing charges of 262 alleged breaches of the FA's betting rules over a four-year period, some of which he has reportedly admitted to. The FA are yet to issue him with a hearing date, though, in which an Independent Regulatory Commission will reach a verdict and issue a subsequent punishment if required.
He could face a lengthy ban from football if found guilty, making Southgate's decision even tougher. When leaving Toney out of the England squad for World Cup 2022, Southgate insisted it had nothing to do with the 24-year-old's charges.
The Brentford striker is in a rich vein of form this season, having bagged 16 goals in 24 Premier League games. Indeed, only Harry Kane has a better goalscoring record among English strikers vying for a spot in the squad, with Reims' Folarin Balogun also on 16 goals in Ligue 1.
Toney isn't the only English player currently embroiled in controversy in off-field issues, with Kyle Walker the subject of a police investigation into allegations of indecent exposure in a Wilmslow bar earlier this month.
While his Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said it is a private matter and shouldn't impact on his football, Walker has only played four minutes for his club side since the incident was first reported.
Elsewhere, Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta confirmed Benjamin White will be available for selection for England again, after the defender left England's World Cup campaign in Qatar midway through the tournament with little explanation.
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Ryan is a staff writer for FourFourTwo, joining the team full-time in October 2022. He first joined Future in December 2020, working across FourFourTwo, Golf Monthly, Rugby World and Advnture's websites, before eventually earning himself a position with FourFourTwo permanently. After graduating from Cardiff University with a degree in Journalism and Communications, Ryan earned a NCTJ qualification to further develop as a writer while a Trainee News Writer at Future.
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