Everton’s Fabian Delph was last night wrongly named as the player suspended by the Toffees regarding alleged child sex offences.
The Premier League side have suspended one of their players pending a police investigation, but have not named him.
Thousands on social media shared false messages claiming Delph had been arrested.
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 have said that a 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 Everton footballer was arrested last Friday and faced several hours of interviews before being released on bail.
Greater Manchester Police said: “Officers arrested a man from the Trafford area on Friday 16 July 2021 on suspicion of child sex offences. He is on police bail pending further enquiries.”
For legal reasons the identity of the player cannot be revealed. He is understood to strongly deny the allegations against him.
The false allegations that Delph had to deal with began after Everton released a statement saying they had suspended one of their players pending a police investigation.
It read: “The club will continue to support the authorities with their inquiries.”
The Everton source also told The Sun : “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 alleged offences have been described as “very serious”.
Everton are in the midst of their pre-season preparations having recently hired Rafa Benitez, who replaced Carlo Ancelotti following his decision to return to Real Madrid.
The Toffees are looking to build on a promising year last term as Farhad Moshiri continues to pump resources into the Merseyside club.