Ivan Toney eager to ‘put things right’ after betting ban by earning Euros spot

By Sports Desk March 27, 2024

Ivan Toney scored on his first England start in the friendly draw with Belgium and is now aiming to make up for lost time by securing a place at Euro 2024.

The Brentford striker won and scored a penalty either side of a Youri Tielemans brace for the visitors, who looked on course for a Wembley win before Jude Bellingham’s last-gasp effort secured a 2-2 draw.

It was Toney’s full England debut and just his second cap, coming exactly a year after his first.

For the majority of that year Toney was sidelined through suspension, having been banned for eight months after breaching Football Association betting rules.

He returned to action for Brentford in January and has scored four goals for the Bees since, while England boss Gareth Southgate kept a watching brief.

“It was always going to be hard to watch knowing I should have been there,” Toney said of England games he missed while banned.

“But that’s done and dusted now. I can’t change it. There’s no point dwelling on something I can’t change because it’ll just hurt me even more.

“But hopefully I can make the Euros squad and put things right. I try to be confident, but let’s see what happens.”

There was a long delay between Toney winning the spot-kick for a foul by Jan Vertonghen and then coolly converting from 12 yards.

For Toney, though, the outcome of the penalty was never in doubt.

“It felt very good,” he told BeIN Sports.

“This morning I spoke to my friends and I said I feel a penalty today and when I ran in behind, I felt the contact and there was no doubt that it was a penalty.

“So it is just patience, really – wait for the keeper to get on the line and do what I do best.

“I practise them all the time, every day and just pretend it is a training pitch and put in the back of the net and I’ve done that.”

While Toney impressed and got off the mark for England, there were other standout displays.

Manchester United teenager Kobbie Mainoo’s midfield performance was particularly eye-catching, while Jarrod Bowen enjoyed arguably his best night in an England shirt too.

The 27-year-old West Ham forward looked sharp on his seventh cap but saw his first England goal chalked off when VAR ruled him offside as he headed home in the first half.

Bowen is also hopeful of squeezing into Southgate’s ranks in Germany.

“There is no question I want it more than ever,” he told BBC Radio 5Live. “The main thing now is to go back to West Ham, hit the ground running there, keep doing what I’ve been doing all season and hope I get the opportunity.

“There is a lot of football to be played before that squad is named. I have been in a good place this season and the main thing was to continue to do what I’ve been doing.”

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