Ivan Toney swats aside Arsenal ‘cringey’ incentive to focus on ‘surreal’ England opportunity

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When asked if he still has such feelings towards Newcastle, Toney added: “No, no, it’s gone now. I feel like looking back, if I were a Newcastle owner or manager and looked at a 20 year old Ivan Toney, would I have taken him? Probably not. There are no hard feelings, it’s football, it’s part of life, you just have to get on with it, really. They did what they had to do. They thought I wasn’t good enough, so it was up to me to pick myself up and go.”

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Toney has done just that, although admitting his first call-up, having failed to appear for an English age group and turning down the chance to play for Jamaica 18 months ago, he still feels “surreal”.

Toney also revealed the moment he found out he had been selected, when he was called by Brentford head coach Thomas Frank on his way to practice. “I was a little late, so I thought he was calling about my timesheet,” Toney said. “Then he said, ‘I am privileged to say that you have been called up to the England senior squad’. For once in my life I had nothing to say.

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“I was driving and wasn’t quite defined as that wouldn’t have been the best thing to do, but I just thought ‘wow I’m really going to play with the England team’. It took me a while to get used to register and I just answered the gaffer’s questions It was, ‘how are you feeling?’ and I was like ‘good’ Then I got off the phone and called my parents (Ivan and Lisa) We have a family group chat I broke the news and they just screamed for 20 minutes Everyone went crazy It was a huge moment for my whole family.”

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