NEWCASTLE, England (AP) — Former England international Peter Beardsley stepped down from his role as under-23s coach at Newcastle on Tuesday while being investigated over allegations of bullying and racism.

Beardsley was questioned on Monday about the allegations during a meeting with officials of the Premier League club. The complainants are due to give their evidence this week.

"He will take a period of leave, to commence immediately, whilst the club conducts its investigation," Newcastle said on Tuesday.

Beardsley, who scored 119 goals in 326 appearances for Newcastle in two spells as a player, is in his second period as an academy coach with the northeast English club.

"Peter Beardsley is aware of inaccurate media reports which result from unauthorized leaks," Beardsley's legal team said in a statement. "Allegations of unfair treatment have been made, which are currently being investigated.

"Peter Beardsley categorically denies the allegations. It is hoped the investigation will conclude quickly."

A talented forward, the 56-year-old Beardsley played 59 times for England including at the World Cup in 1986 and 1990.