Gabriel Agbonlahor suspended by Aston Villa after laughing gas incident
Gabriel Agbonlahor has been suspended by Aston Villa pending an internal investigation after pictures emerged of the striker with laughing gas canisters.
According to a report in The Sun, Agbonlahor was pictured partying with several friends in the London's Mayfair Hotel on the same night that Aston Villa were relegated from the Premier League.
The incident is the second time the £60,000-a-week striker has been embroiled in a scandal involving the use of nitrous oxide - otherwise known as laughing gas.
Pictures emerged earlier this season allegedly depicting Agbonlahor inhaling the gas through a balloon, and while no action was taken by the club then, Villa has decided to launch an internal investigation on this occasion.
The club said in a statement this lunchtime: "Aston Villa Football Club has today suspended Gabby Agbonlahor pending an internal investigation. This is following allegations concerning his conduct at the weekend.
"There will be no further comment from the Club in relation to this matter until the investigation has been completed."
Manchester City footballer Raheem Sterling found himself on the front pages of the tabloids in April 2015 after he was pictured inhaling what appeared to be nitrous oxide.
Nitrous oxide is not illegal, but it is prohibited to be sold to under-18s in England and Wales.
Saturday's 1-0 defeat away to Manchester United confirmed that Aston Villa will drop out of the Premier League for the first time in the league's history.
The former England striker had been left out of Villa's matchday squad after it was deemed he was unfit to play Premier League football.
Agbonlahor, who is a product of the Aston Villa academy set-up, has been under close media scrutiny over the past two weeks after a number of off-the-field incidents.
Aston Villa's caretaker manager Eric Black previously announced the club were investigating an incident in Dubai where Agbonlahor was allegedly pictured smoking a shisha pipe.
The striker used his Instagram account to respond to the allegations, posting a picture of himself holding a bottle of mineral water.
"There's an ongoing investigation which will run its course, I'm sure," Black told reporters.
"We don't need this to be about Gabby Agbonlahor. We need this to be about the 18 players who are possibly going to play for Aston Villa on Saturday."
The club have since announced they would be taking no further action against the striker following the culmination of their investigation.
Agbonlahor, formerly captain at the Midlands club, has made just 15 Premier League appearances so far this season.
News of the 29-year-old's alleged misbehaviour is the latest in a long line of off-the-field controversies to have dogged Aston Villa's doomed season.
Aston Villa captain Joleon Lescott incurred the wrath of Villa fans on Saturday evening when he appeared to suggest relegation came as a 'relief' to the club.
“Now it’s confirmed maybe it’s a weight off the shoulders and we can give these fans what they deserve, some performances,” Lescott said in a post-match interview.
His comments were badly received by a number of Villa supporters, including former striker Stan Collymore, who called Lescott's attitude 'a disgrace' in a fiery interview on TalkSport radio.