England boss Southgate explains White omission and Toney inclusion

Gareth Southgate insists Ben White was dropped from the England squad due to the ‘depth of talent’ at right-back… as Three Lions boss DEFENDS Ivan Toney selection, after striker was charged with alleged breaches of FA betting rules

  • Gareth Southgate named his 25-man squad for England’s Euro 2024 qualifiers
  • Arsenal’s Ben White was excluded, while Brentford’s Ivan Toney was included
  • The Three Lions boss explained his decisions in a press conference on Thursday 

Gareth Southgate has explained the reasoning behind some of his controversial decisions within England’s 25-man squad for their Euro 2024 qualifiers.

The Three Lions boss raised eyebrows after choosing to leave Ben White and Raheem Sterling out of his England squad and selecting Brentford striker Ivan Toney.

Toney is facing the prospect of a lengthy ban after pleading guilty to the majority of the 262 charges for alleged breaches of the Football Association’s gambling laws dating back to 2017.

The forward was originally charged on 22nd December and since gone on to score six Premier League goals in 10 appearances.

His recent form has been enough to persuade the Three Lions boss to select the Toney, and Southgate went on to praise the 26-year-old on his ‘brilliant’ performances. 

Ivan Toney has been selected for England’s upcoming Euro 2024 qualifiers this month

Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate heaped praise on Toney’s ‘brilliant’ form in recent weeks

Speaking on Thursday afternoon, Southgate said: ‘Well, the fact is that he’s [Toney] playing for his club. And that he’s available for his club. 

‘There hasn’t been a trial as yet or any judgment. So, I don’t know on what basis we wouldn’t pick him really. 

‘Think before the WC, Callum Wilson had a brilliant run of form and he’s obviously had a little bit of an injury that’s inhibited his performances in the last few weeks.

‘Ivan’s been consistent across the season. Of course, as soon as we named that squad, he had a brilliant game at Man City – which was typical! 

‘But he’s playing really well and I like his presence in games. I saw his game at Arsenal, where I thought he was outstanding.’

Toney has scored 15 Premier League goals this season, a figure bettered only by Erling Haaland and Harry Kane.

Away from the controversy surrounding Toney, Southgate also reflected on his decisions to exclude Raheem Sterling and Ben White. 

‘Yeah, well, Raheem’s not fit, so that’s that one. Yeah [I would have picked him if fit] absolutely.

Southgate also reflected on the decision to leave Arsenal’s Ben White out of the 25-man squad

‘With Ben… it’s similar with Ben and Trent really. The three boys that are in as right full-backs, we’ve got them as just ahead of those two. We are blessed in that position with the depth of talent.

‘It’s the hardest position to pick, albeit it’s never straightforward criteria and it’s always shifting around a little bit on form as well. 

‘Kyle and Tripps are obviously the ones that played during the World Cup, started the games during the World Cup, have been consistent. 

‘And Reece coming back is another top player. So yeah we’d love to have that depth in every position on the field really.’

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