The Brentford striker has earned his chance on the international stage having established himself as one of the Premier League’s top forwards
It would be a surprise if, by the end of this week, England had not capped its 1,272nd senior men’s international player. What a deserved cap it would be, too. Few players are in better form than Ivan Toney right now, and having missed out agonisingly on Gareth Southgate’s squad for the World Cup in Qatar, the Brentford striker will be desperate to make his mark as England launch their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign with games against Italy and Ukraine.
At 27, Toney has certainly taken the long road to the top level, but his performances for Brentford this season place him, unquestionably, among the country’s best players. His tally of 16 Premier League goals is bettered only by Erling Haaland and Harry Kane, and has the Bees dreaming, improbably, of European qualification.
“He deserves his opportunity,” said Southgate when announcing his squad last week. Off-field issues may change things but Toney has, for now it seems, moved ahead of the likes of Callum Wilson, Ollie Watkins, Tammy Abraham and Dominic Calvert-Lewin in the battle to be the understudy to captain Kane.
Nobody can say he hasn’t earned his chance…