Ivan Toney sets his sights on regular England role after debut against Ukraine
Ivan Toney is aiming to become deputy to England captain Harry Kane after making his debut in Sunday’s Euro 2024 qualification win over Ukraine.
The striker has once again been in fine form for Brentford this season with 16 Premier League goals and – having missed out on a place at the World Cup – made his international bow as a late substitute in the 2-0 victory.
Toney played just nine minutes off the bench, replacing Kane who extended his record as England’s all-time leading goalscorer when he broke the deadlock at Wembley.
The 27-year-old Toney faces an uncertain future after being charged with 262 breaches of the Football Association’s gambling laws, some of which he has since accepted.
But, despite a potential ban hanging over him, Toney has now targeted a regular berth in Gareth Southgate’s squad.
Asked if he can become Kane’s long-term deputy, he replied: “I hope so.
“I hope I keep performing and keep myself in and around the mix. But there’s Harry Kane, one of the best strikers in the world, in front of me.
“There’s other strikers around the Premier League that are doing well as well. I’ve just got to keep doing me and hopefully it’s enough.
“With a player like Harry Kane in front of you, it’s always going to be tough. He’s one of the best strikers in the world.
“All I can keep doing is keep working hard, and when my chance comes, take it with two hands. Thankfully I got my cap, and it means a lot — believe me.”
Having reportedly turned down interest to play international football for Jamaica in the past, Toney was handed a first England call-up in September for the Nations League fixtures against Italy and Germany.
He did not get on the pitch and then did not make the cut for Southgate’s squad for Qatar, with Newcastle striker Callum Wilson preferred as the back-up option to Kane.
Now though, Toney believes he has done enough to show the England boss what he is capable of.
“I feel like I have (done enough to make an impression),” he added.
“I work on my game every day. On the training pitch I’ve been working hard. When you’re not playing, you’ve just got to do that.
“Three of four years ago I was fighting for promotion at Peterborough and now I’m making my cap for England.
“It’s been a massive, long journey but to finally get my first England cap is a massive achievement. The hard work starts now.
“Of course, you’re going to be itching to get the ball in the back of the net. But the main thing is to do things right, see the game out, and get three points.
“Everyone at Brentford is rooting for me. I was getting messages before the game. I got the cap, so it’s a special moment for myself, everybody at Brentford, and everybody involved.”