Football

Ex-England striker concerned by Ivan Toney’s physicality amid potential World Cup spot

England

Former England international Alan Shearer has voiced his concerns over the physicality of Ivan Toney amid a potential World Cup call-up for the Brentford striker.

As reported by the Daily Mail, Shearer believes Toney’s physical approach may go against him in Qatar.

The Newcastle legend says Callum Wilson should be taken by England instead. Roma striker Tammy Abraham should also be involved, said Shearer.

Shearer: England should leave Toney at home

Toney has been in fine form for Brentford this season. The striker has eight goals from his 13 Premier League matches. Only Erling Haaland (18), Harry Kane (11) and Aleksandar Mitrovic (9) have more.

But there is undoubtedly a physical side to his game. Toney missed Brentford’s meeting with Nottingham Forest last weekend after picking up five yellow cards for the season.

Only Ruben Neves and Anthony Gordon (both six) have more.

Toney’s displays at club level saw him earn his first England call-up earlier this year. He was selected by Gareth Southgate for the UEFA Nations League fixtures against Italy and Germany.

While he didn’t feature in either game, it may still have been enough to convince Southgate to include him in the England World Cup squad.

But former England striker Shearer believes Toney’s physicality will not be viewed kindly by referees in Qatar.

“In attack, I’ve left out Brentford’s Ivan Toney and gone for Tammy Abraham and Callum Wilson,” said Shearer, when discussing his preferred England squad.

“I understand that if England are to win the World Cup they’re almost certain to have to win a penalty shootout somewhere down the line.

“I understand the clamour for Toney to be involved, but I’d be a bit concerned about how his physicality might be viewed by referees at the highest level.

“Wilson has long-standing fitness issues but has been brilliant for Newcastle United.”

England

Trippier “one of the first defenders” on the England team sheet

At the other end of the pitch, Shearer is adamant that Kieran Trippier is included. The Newcastle full-back has been a standout for the Magpies this season.

The ex-England striker believes Trippier is one of the first defenders on the Three Lions team sheet. He could, of course, be played in either full-back position.

Southgate faces some huge decisions in the coming days regarding his defence. This involves the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold, who has been left out in recent times due to form.

There is also the major issue of fitness. Players such as Kyle Walker and Reece James are both struggling with injuries.

“It’s not just about questionable fitness – it’s about form, too,” said Shearer.

“With Kyle Walker it’s fitness, with Harry Maguire it’s form and a lack of game time – one start in the league for Manchester United since August.

“It’s form for Eric Dier, Luke Shaw, Trent Alexander-Arnold,” he continued.

“Kieran Trippier must be one of the first defenders on the team sheet at the moment, while Ben White is full of belief at Arsenal, but there are some big calls to be made here.”

Southgate is expected to name his final 26-man England squad on Thursday. After that, the Three Lions take on Iran, the USA and Wales in Group B.