'I'll be there for him' - Rio Ferdinand's special Ivan Toney gesture amid fears he'll struggle with mental health during eight-month ban from football

Rio Ferdinand and Ivan Toney
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Rio Ferdinand has pledged his support for Ivan Toney as the England striker begins his eight-month ban for breaching FA betting rules.
  • Ferdinand banned for eight months in 2004
  • Offers support to suspended Toney
  • Thomas Frank keen to aid forward's mental health

WHAT HAPPENED? Toney began his lengthy ban at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Saturday in Brentford's fixture against Spurs. Ferdinand, suspended for eight-months in 2004 for missing a drugs test, was on punditry duty for BT Sport and offered his insight as well as his support for the England striker.

WHAT THEY SAID?: He said: "The difference is I was allowed on the training ground but from a mental health perspective Ivan Toney can't even do that for four months. So it's a difficult position to be in."

"He'll have good people around him like his manager and teammates but I'll be there if he ever wants to pick up the phone. I've been through this situation, I'll definitely be able to talk to him about it."

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THE BIGGER PICTURE: Toney's ban came after the striker admitted to 232 breaches of the FA's Betting Rules. The ban, for offences that took place between 2017 and 2021, runs until January 16, 2024 and excludes the player from taking part in any football-related activity but does allow a return to training from mid-September.

WHAT NEXT FOR BRENTFORD AND IVAN TONEY? Brentford close out another impressive season with games against Spurs and Man City. The written reasons for Toney's punishment are due to be published by the FA in the coming days.