World Cup beckons for Ivan Toney if Brentford star can keep making his case to gatecrash England squad

·2-min read
Ivan Toney has started the season in fine form  (REUTERS)
Ivan Toney has started the season in fine form (REUTERS)

It was after he slotted the winner from the spot against Everton last season that Thomas Frank hailed Brentford talisman Ivan Toney as the world’s best penalty-taker.

With England’s shoot-out misery at Euro 2020 fresh in the memory, it was half-joked that the striker might be worth taking to the World Cup this winter for that prowess alone.

Toney remains uncapped, by either England or Jamaica, for whom he is also eligible, but after a fine start to the campaign, the sense is that the door is still not quite shut on a late charge to be Harry Kane’s deputy in Qatar.

Tammy Abraham is just about the incumbent but fluffed his lines when given chances in the nightmare run of Nations League matches in June.

Other likely lads have seen their cases weaken. Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who played the role at the Euros, is injured again, Patrick Bamford continues to struggle for fitness and Ollie Watkins and Danny Ings are battling with each other for a shirt at Aston Villa.

Callum Wilson has begun the season in superb form and might just be favourite were Gareth Southgate naming a squad tomorrow, but he has his own turgid injury record plus the imminent arrival of Alexander Isak at Newcastle to negotiate between now and November.

Toney, meanwhile, has scored twice in Brentford’s first three league matches and produced three impressive all-round displays, with his sensational assist for Bryan Mbeumo’s fourth against Manchester United the highlight.

Against the 26-year-old is that Southgate is famously a loyalist, prone to trusting those he has worked with before. If there was ever a scenario in which that policy might be abandoned in favour of outright form, it would surely come in the selection - for a mid-season tournament - of a reserve striker only likely to be called upon as an SOS.

Still, to have hopes of going to Qatar, Toney must surely earn a maiden call-up for next month’s Nations League meetings with Germany and Italy, England’s only matches between now and their World Cup opener against Iran.

Starting against Everton on Saturday, Toney has five Premier League matches which to make his case impossible to ignore.