Ivan Toney: England Euro 2024 selection ‘touch and go’, ‘I don’t want the sob stories’


Ivan Toney says he felt it was “touch and go” over whether he would be selected for England’s Euro 2024 squad after a difficult year but does not want people to “feel sorry” for him following his lengthy absence from football.

The 28-year-old scored four times in five matches for Brentford after his return from an eight-month ban for betting breaches in January, but ended the campaign with a run of 12 Premier League games without a goal.

He was included as one of three strikers, alongside Harry Kane and Ollie Watkins, in Gareth Southgate’s 26-man squad for this summer’s tournament in Germany. James Maddison and Jack Grealish were the forward options cut from the provisional squad, while Bournemouth striker Dominic Solanke was also not selected despite finishing the season with 19 goals.

“It was touch and go,” Toney told BBC Radio 5 Live. “Obviously, there’s a lot of great strikers out there, but I believe the manager has seen something myself in that I can bring and add to the squad to make it better.”

He continued: “It was a tricky end of the season for myself, but I do believe in my ability, and I believe that I’ve got something that I can add to add to the team, so it was kind of yes and no (as to whether I was expecting a call up).

“But, I think the manager has seen the style of play I can add to the team, and clearly he thought it was enough to bring me with the squad.”

Toney was banned from football in May 2023 over 232 betting breaches and was not allowed to train with his club until September.

He explained he had a conversation with Southgate about his situation, but said messages of sympathy was not how he dealt with it.

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(Richard Pelham/Getty Images)

“I spoke to him (Southgate) once when it all come around,” Toney continued. “But with me and the kind of person I am is I don’t want nobody to feel sorry for me.

“I don’t want them kind of messages or them phone calls because I put myself in that situation, so I deal with it. That’s how I go about things. I don’t want the sob stories or the calls and these kind of things. Life goes on.

“There’s people in the world that are fighting for their life and in the worst situations, so you just got to get on with life and move forward and that’s what I tried to do.

“I did and I come out the end and I’m here looking in front of a major tournament and hopefully (I’ll) do well.”

Toney’s breakthrough into the England squad has come during his four years at Brentford, but the west London club have accepted he wants to leave in the summer.

In January he reiterated his desire to move to a “top club” and The Athletic has previously reported he has admirers from other Premier League sides. While the striker said he would be ready if a big club came in for him, he was not taking anything for granted.

“It’s nice to be linked with other clubs but I’ve had disappointment in the past and nothing’s done until it’s done,” he told TalkSport. “I’m still a Brentford player and I’ve still got to focus on that and doing well for Brentford in the upcoming season. That’s the main thing.

“Obviously, if it was to come I’d be ready regardless but I’ve got to remain focused and not let other things and the noise get the best of me, focus on what I need to be doing with my club.”

England begin their Euro 2024 campaign against Serbia on Sunday.

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(Top photo: Adrian Dennis/AFP via Getty Images)



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