England debut “surreal” says new Three Lions star Toney


Following his “surreal” first runout for England, fresh Three Lions debutant Ivan Toney is aiming to establish himself as a regular member of Gareth Southgate’s national team squad.

Toney was introduced from the bench to win his first cap in the 80th-minute of England’s routine 2-0 triumph over Ukraine at Wembley Stadium on Sunday and the target man is hoping that his initial appearance at international level will be the first of many.

England eased to a 2-0 triumph over Ukraine thanks to first-half strikes from Harry Kane and Bukayo Saka in London, just days after they had carved out an impressive 2-1 win at Italy in their opening Euro 2024 qualifier.

Toney targeting second striker role

Brentford star Ivan Toney, who is awaiting the outcome of his charge for betting rule breaches, is one of several Premier League forwards jostling for position behind Harry Kane in England’s list of preferred striking options, and the 27-year-old is aiming to become a squad staple for the Three Lions.

When asked if he has done enough to establish himself as England’s second striker, Toney said: “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. And 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.

“All I can keep doing is keep working hard, and when my chance comes, take it with two hands. I did that last night. Thankfully I got my cap, and it means a lot — believe me.

England debut “surreal” says Toney

Toney, who could have chosen to represent Jamaica instead, spoke in glowing terms about his England debut after full time on Sunday. The centre-forward was playing in League One with Peterborough just three seasons ago, though he has enjoyed a meteoric rise since his move to Brentford in 2020.

“It feels so surreal. I couldn’t think of a better ground to do it in. For me and my family, it’s been a long journey, but to finally make it onto the pitch is a massive moment. Of course, I was 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.

“I feel like I have [impressed Southgate],” 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.”

Toney’s rapid rise

Ivan Toney became the first Brentford player since 1939 to win an England cap when he pulled on the iconic white shirt at the weekend and the 27-year-old opened up about the long road he has taken to the top in the post-match media scrum, saying:

“I was literally saying to my friend the other day [that] three or four years ago I was fighting for promotion at Peterborough and now I’m making my debut 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. A hundred percent [I thought I could do it]. You’ve got to dream big, and I’ve made my dream a reality.”

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