After earning his first England cap in Sunday’s European qualifying victory over Ukraine, Ivan Toney says he has “made his dream a reality.”
Gareth Southgate had previously called up the 27-year-old in September, but he did not play in the Nations League matches against Italy and Germany.
Toney admitted to breaking Football Association betting rules in February and could face a ban from the game.
The Brentford striker is the Premier League’s second-highest English goalscorer, trailing only captain Harry Kane, and the first player from the Bees to play for England since Les Smith in 1939.
“It’s always going to be difficult with a player like Harry Kane in front of you – he’s one of the best strikers in the world,” Toney said after coming on as an 81st-minute substitute in the 2-0 win.
“All I can do is keep working hard and, when the opportunity arises, seize it with both hands.” I did that today, and thankfully, I received my cap, which means a lot to me.
“Of course, you’ll be itching to get the ball in the net, but the main thing is doing things correctly, trying to see the game out, and getting three points, which is obviously the main thing – and the goal of the game.”
“When you’re not playing, you have to make sure you’re working hard and progressing.” You must keep your name in the manager’s mind, and when he gives you the opportunity, you must seize it.”
Toney began his career at League Two Northampton Town before moving to Premier League Newcastle United in 2015, where he made four appearances.