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Gareth Southgate delivers verdict on Ivan Toney’s Euro 2024 chances

England manager Gareth Southgate has emphasised the need to support Ivan Toney during his eight-month suspension from football.

He has assured the striker that his ban will not affect his chances of being considered for the 2024 European Championship.

The Brentford talisman was recently barred from all football-related activities and fined £50,000 for violating the Football Association betting rules.

Toney is currently on the sidelines with an injury. He would have been a potential candidate for Southgate’s squad, having made his international debut in March during the 2-0 victory against Ukraine.

After revealing his Three Lions squad for the upcoming European Championship qualifiers against Malta and North Macedonia, Southgate took stock of the Brentford striker’s future at the national team.

“I have spoken with him – I don’t know if that’s allowed by the way, but if it isn’t then they can ban me and not add to his,” the England boss said, as relayed by Sky Sports.

“The ban is the ban. He’s recognised and accepted the punishment. What bothers me is we’ve got to look after people.

“I don’t like the idea we just leave somebody, that they’re not allowed to be part of the football community. I don’t think that’s how we should work, how the best rehabilitation programmes work.

“He knows that we picked him because we felt until there was a charge he should be allowed to play. When he comes back, if he plays well, then we’ll pick him.

“It won’t have any bearing but I think he’ll have additional motivation through what he is experiencing. He’s a resilient guy with great character and we’re here to support him.”

Toney has been brilliant for Brentford this season, racking up an eye-catching 20 goals in 33 Premier League appearances.

However, he won’t be eligible to train with the Bees until September due to suspension after being found guilty of breaching betting rules earlier this month.

With no appeals on the horizon, Toney should return to action in January, only five months ahead of the Euro 2024 kick-off in June later next year.

He’ll have enough time to get in shape and convince Southgate to include him in the England squad, provided the Three Lions secure qualification.

After back-to-back wins over Italy and Ukraine to get their qualifying Group C campaign underway, they are on course to reach the Euro finals for the fourth time on the trot.

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