Ivan Toney indicated he would be ready if needed as a late call-up to the England squad after missing out on the 26-man starting squad. The Brentford striker scored a brace as his side beat Premier League champions Manchester City 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium.
Toney’s double served as a warning to Gareth Southgate about the quality he has left at home. But there is still a chance that the 26-year-old could catch the plane to Qatar if another striker is injured this weekend.
Toney said: “Listen, the only thing is to keep doing well, keep doing well for the team and see what can happen. Obviously it was a disappointment, but I won’t let it get me down. I’m going to keep going and Brentford is doing well. My motivation is the guys in the locker room and the fans. When we work hard, this is what we can do.”
He added: “They may be Man City, but they are human and humans can lose games. I think the dedication and the desire to work hard for each other, we showed today and we deserved all three points.”
Brentford defender Ben Mee, who was able to keep Erling Haaland calm throughout the game, praised his team’s talisman. “Today he showed what he can do. Great fight, stealing game and he can finish. He fully deserved both goals,” Mee said.
Meanwhile, Toney has received amazing praise from some of football’s biggest icons.
Gary Lineker said: “Well I think @ivantoney24 has made his statement.” And Gary Neville added: “He got knocked out of a World Cup squad 48 hours ago and he responds with that! Brilliant from @ivantoney24.”
Brentford manager Thomas Frank hauled Toney over to the jubilant visitors’ winger at the final whistle and could not speak more highly of his striker. Frank said: “Fantastic. I can’t praise him enough. What I would say is that the most important thing is how good a person he is. What a player, what a striker. He scored two goals and probably could have scored one more.
“Imagine having a hat-trick at the Etihad, I thought it was only for Haaland. But today it was close for Ivan Toney.”
He added: “I still think the play-off final will always be the biggest, but of course, it’s up there. I spoke to some people at the club who said that as a single result it’s probably the biggest, if you think about it. We compare both clubs in terms of resources: City and one of the richest clubs in the Premier League and we have one of the lowest budgets.
“From my perspective, it was a well-deserved win. I think we took them out for the whole game.
“They had their best team and we’re missing four of our normal starters, so it’s an amazing performance from the guys.”
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