Andros Townsend is “heartbroken” to be missing the European Under-21 Championship but concedes his punishment for breaching betting regulations is fully deserved.
The 21-year-old Tottenham winger was not accused of betting on matches in which he had any involvement, but because of strict Football Association rules that forbid gambling on a wide spectrum of games he was banned for four months, three of which were suspended.
Townsend was unaware he was prohibited from betting on games in any competition that Spurs, or the clubs at which he had played on loan - Leeds and Birmingham - were involved in that season until he was informed by a bookmaker that he was being reported to the FA.
"When I spoke to the FA I was fully regretful and was ready to accept the deserved punishment," he told the Sun. "Speaking honestly, there was never anything sinister going on.
"There was no match-fixing, no betting on my team to lose, no inside information and I certainly never bet on Arsenal to finish higher than Spurs, as suggested by people on Twitter."
He added: "There is a stain on my reputation, and deservedly so, which means I now must show everyone it was a mistake and I've learned from it."
Townsend withdrew voluntarily from the England Under-21 squad for the European Championship in Israel but admitted he was "heartbroken" at having to do so having targeted a place in the squad.
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