England World Cup hopeful Ivan Toney is reportedly being investigated over allegations he gambled on football.
The Brentford striker is the subject of an inquiry into match-betting over historical claims which relate to a period before he joined the Premier League club, according to The Sun.
In a statement, Toney said he had been “assisting the Football Association with their enquiries” but would not be making any further comment until the investigation had “reached its conclusion”.
“I am a proud Englishman and it has always been my childhood dream to play for my country at a World Cup finals,” he tweeted.
There are no suggestions Toney ever gambled against his own team.
He has not been charged with any offence but it is thought the investigation has been going on for seven months, the Daily Mail reported.
The FA declined to comment, while Brentford issued a brief statement to acknowledge they were aware of the claims.
“We note the story concerning Ivan Toney and the FA investigation,” it said. “The club will not be commenting.”
Under FA rules, players operating at Premier League, English Football League and National League levels are banned from betting on football.
The rules state that players are “prohibited from betting, either directly or indirectly, on any football match or competition that takes place anywhere in the world”.
“This also includes a worldwide ban on betting on any other football-related matter,” the rules add.
“For example, the transfer of players, employment of managers or team selection. The passing of inside information to somebody that uses the information for betting remains prohibited.”
Toney was part of the England squad for September’s Nations League clashes with Italy and Germany, but did not figure in either game as he awaits his senior international debut.
He began his professional career with home-town club Northampton and, during a three-year stay at Newcastle, had loan spells with Barnsley, Shrewsbury, Scunthorpe and Wigan before making a permanent move to Peterborough in August 2018.
Toney joined Brentford in a £5m switch two years later and scored 33 goals as they won promotion to the Premier League in his first season.
He has propelled himself into the England squad with his clinical form from the penalty spot a major plus, as manager Gareth Southgate prepares for the World Cup in Qatar.
Toney missed Brenford’s 2-2 draw at Nottingham Forest on Saturday through suspension after collecting his fifth yellow card of the season against Wolves last weekend.