Southgate opens up on White and Alexander-Arnold England omissions
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Ivan Toney has been called up by Gareth Southgate for England’s Euros qualifiers with Italy and Ukraine to cause “havoc” on the pitch rather than off it.
The Brentford striker is the subject of an FA investigation into 262 alleged breaches of the FA’s betting rules – a tranche of which he has admitted to – which could lead to a suspension.
The England manager has put that to one side to call up the 17-goal hit man. “He is playing for his club and available for them. There hasn’t been a trial or any judgement so I don’t know on what basis we wouldn’t pick him,” said Southgate.
“I like his sense of belief on the pitch. I saw him at Arsenal and he went on to that pitch thinking he would cause some havoc that day. That’s a good sign. That’s what you need if you’re going to play for your country.
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“The challenge is always to convert from one environment and take that same mentality and belief into the next. That’s what we hope to give him the opportunity to do.”
The uncapped 27-year-old received an England call-up last September but did not get on the pitch and was then omitted from the World Cup squad in favour of Newcastle’s Callum Wilson, who has been dropped from Southgate’s 25-man squad.
Four other members of England’s Qatar squad are also missing – the injured Raheem Sterling who is likely to be sidelined for several weeks by injury and the axed Trent Alexander-Arnold, Conor Coady and Ben White.
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However Southgate has stayed loyal to Kyle Walker who is the subject of a police inquiry after footage emerged online of the Manchester City defender allegedly exposing himself in a bar.
“As we sit here today there was no conclusive reason not to select him in the squad. If that changes then we’ve got to review the situation. And he would understand that as well, but at the moment we are where we are,” said Southgate.
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