England boss Southgate tells FA ‘if it’s not allowed then ban me’ while furious over crucial aspect of Ivan Toney’s ban
GARETH SOUTHGATE criticized the FA for stopping Ivan Toney from training with Brentford.
The England international has no problem with the eight-month betting suspension given to Brentford striker Toney.
But Southgate has criticized his bosses for preventing Toney from going anywhere near his club – which included physical therapy – until the final four months of his suspension in September.
He said: “It’s one thing not to be allowed to play, but if we’re not allowed to be part of the football community then we have to be really careful about how we do that.”
“He accepted the punishment. What bothers me is that we have to take care of the people. He is hurt. What can he do to get fit?
“How do we give him structure over the next few months so that he can end up being a better person?
“I don’t like the idea that we are leaving someone behind so they are not allowed to be part of the football community.
“I don’t think the best rehabilitation programs would work like that.
“I do not question the decision to ban. I think about the player and how I can help him.”
Toney, who made his Three Lions debut in March, was suspended after admitting 232 betting violations between 2017 and 2021.
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Still, Southgate insists Toney’s dream of Euro 2024 is not over – even if he faces an uphill battle.
The Three Lions manager unveiled his squad for next month’s qualifiers, adding: “If he comes back and plays well, we will pick him. He’s a resilient guy with a great character.
“It’s not ideal as he will miss a large part of the season. But there is still time.”
Southgate said he spoke to Toney but wasn’t sure if that was allowed.
However, he added, “If that’s not the case, they can ban me and not add me to his.”
England travel to Malta on June 16 and meet North Macedonia three days later at Old Trafford.
Crystal Palace’s Eberechi Eze received his first cap, while Brighton defender Lewis Dunk is back for the first time since 2018.