Tottenham and England defender Kyle Walker has apologised after photographs of him inhaling legal high nitrous oxide were published in the Sunday Mirror newspaper.
Walker, 23, was pictured breathing in the substance from a balloon on a night out with friends in his hometown of Sheffield, believed to be in June of this year.
Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, is a legal drug that has become increasingly popular in recent years due to its recreational use among partygoers. Inhaling it brings light-headedness and feelings of euphoria but also presents risks related to the deprivation of oxygen, most notably unconsciousness and in extreme cases, death.
Walker was widely condemned in the English media for his actions and has delivered an apology in a statement to the Daily Mail.
"I have now been made aware of the health risks associated with the practice and accept that my actions were of poor judgment," Walker said. "I hope this will in no way influence or encourage others into putting their own health at risk."
The right-back, who is currently in Ukraine ahead of England’s crunch World Cup qualifier there, also took to Twitter to say sorry.
I won't be doing this again and hope that no one else is influenced into putting their health at risk by my actions.
— Kyle Walker (@kylewalker2) September 8, 2013
England manager Roy Hodgson told a press conference on Monday that Walker would play against Ukraine and that he was fully confident he would be able to focus on the match.
He added: “He has made his apology. He has made his mistake. It was a long time ago -- I think he had forgotten about it. It might have been worse had it happened last weekend.”
The FA had earlier said that Walker will not face punishment.
"Kyle Walker has expressed his regret for an error of judgement when inhaling Nitrous Oxide earlier this year," a statement from the FA read. "The FA and the England manager have spoken to Kyle about the matter and he has assured us it will not happen again."
"Inhaling Nitrous Oxide is not illegal, but we recognise the associated dangers. Kyle has accepted this mistake. He will not face any action under the England Player Code of Conduct.
"The FA and England manager will not be making any further comment on this matter and will be focusing their full attention on Tuesday's match with Ukraine."