Darron Gibson suspended by Sunderland after drink-driving charge

Sunderland have suspended midfielder Darron Gibson with immediate effect after he was charged with drink driving.

The Black Cats announced they have launched an investigation into an incident in which the 30-year-old Republic of Ireland international was allegedly involved on Saturday.

A club statement said: "Sunderland AFC has suspended Darron Gibson with immediate effect after the player was charged with driving with excess alcohol on Saturday 17 March. The football club has commenced a full investigation into the matter.''

Chief executive Martin Bain added: "We expect the highest standard of behaviour from our players and should any individual fall short of those standards, then robust action must be taken.''

Gibson was arrested after several vehicles were damaged close to the club's Academy of Light training ground shortly before midday on Saturday as his teammates prepared for their Championship clash with Preston at the Stadium of Light.

Photographs of the player being spoken to by police at the scene later emerged on social media.

He is currently working his way back from a groin injury which has sidelined him since New Year's day.

Gibson arrived on Wearside in January last year from Everton having initially emerged from the ranks at Manchester United.

He has been plagued by injury and a lack of form for much of his time at Sunderland, but was enjoying his best spell for the club to date when injury struck.

He was arrested on the morning of Sunderland's 2-0 home defeat to Preston that left them rooted to the foot of the Championship, five points from safety and facing back-to-back relegations after dropping out of the Premier League last season.