Brentford striker Ivan Toney returned to the England squad despite the betting charges against him, after coach Gareth Southgate called him up for the matches against defending champions Italy and Ukraine in the 2024 European Cup qualifiers.
Despite being called up for the first time last September, Tony has not yet made his debut with the “Three Lions” after remaining on the bench.
His inclusion in the squad that will face Italy and Ukraine on March 23 and 26 in Naples and London, respectively, in Group C competitions is somewhat surprising, especially since he is accused of 262 violations of the FA rules that prevent players from betting on any match, even if they are not a party to it.
The 27-year-old faces the possibility of being suspended for a long period of time if the FA finds him guilty of the charges against him.
And Southgate considered that there was no objection to summoning Tony, pending the final ruling on the charges against him.
Tony starred remarkably this season, scoring 16 goals in the Premier League, which allowed Brentford to compete for European positions.
Southgate clarified his position, saying, “Since Ivan is available to play for his team, and since there has been no trial yet and no judgment has yet been issued, I do not know why we should not choose him.”
He continued, “He plays really well. I like his presence in the matches. I saw his match at Arsenal, where he was great, and (therefore) he deserves his chance (with the national team).”
The “Three Lions”, who renew the date with Italy after losing to it at home in “Wembley”, the final of the last edition of the European Cup in the summer of 2021, will miss the services of Raheem Sterling due to injury, while Liverpool fullback Trent Alexander-Arnold is considered the most prominent absentee from the Southgate squad, which included Kyle Walker, despite the open investigation against the Manchester City defender, due to his scandalous behavior in a pub earlier this month.
Manchester United defender Harry Maguire and Chelsea midfielders Mason Mount and Manchester City Calvin Phillips kept their positions despite the marginalization they suffered from in their teams.
Goalkeepers: Goran Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Newcastle United), Aaron Ramsdale (Arsenal)
Defenders: Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw (Manchester United), Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), John Stones and Kyle Walker (Manchester City), Kieran Terrier (Newcastle), Reece James and Ben Chilwell (Chelsea), Mark Guehi (Crystal Palace)
Midfielders: Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund), Mason Mount and Connor Gallagher (Chelsea), Declan Rice (West Ham), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Calvin Phillips (Manchester City), James Madison (Leicester)
For the attack: Phil Foden and Jack Grealish (Manchester City), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), and Evan Toni (Brentford).