ENGLAND star Fabian Delph was last night wrongly named as the player suspended by Everton over alleged child sex offences.
Tens of thousands of social media users shared false messages claiming Delph, 31, had been arrested after a raid.
The Premier League club have suspended one of their players pending a police investigation, but have not named him.
Last night an Everton source said: “It’s been extremely unfortunate for Fabian.
“He is entirely innocent and has been dragged into this by the club’s decision not to name the other player, directly leading to rumours spreading on unregulated websites and social media.”
Greater Manchester Police said that a 31-year-old man had been arrested last week on suspicion of child sex offences.
Detectives from the Major Incident Team raided his house and took away equipment.
The player cannot be named for legal reasons — although he has been identified in his home country and on global news websites.
He is understood to vehemently deny the allegations against him but has already been stripped of an endorsement deal.
The false accusations against Delph started after Everton revealed they had suspended one of their first-team players pending a police investigation.
A statement on their official website added: “The club will continue to support the authorities with their inquiries.”
The Everton source went on: “The news about the arrest has sent shock waves through the club.
“His team-mates had no idea.
“The probe is being led by specialist officers who received a complaint several weeks ago.
“This news has left everyone at the club stunned.
“They are determined to make sure everything is investigated properly and no stone is left unturned.
“The club told all the players yesterday what happened.
“The players are in total shock.
“The arrested player is a very popular member of the squad so no one can believe it.
“The players are all just hoping that it’s a misunderstanding or a mix-up or something.”
The Goodison Park star was arrested last Friday and interviewed for several hours before being released on bail.
The alleged offences have been described as “very serious”.
Everton are due to fly to the US to compete in the Florida Cup against Colombian side Millonarios on July 26.
Ex-Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez is now in charge of the side after taking over from Carlo Ancelotti.
Greater Manchester Police said: “Officers arrested a 31-year-old man from the Trafford area on Friday 16 July 2021 on suspicion of child sex offences. He is on police bail pending further enquiries.”
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