Great hope of English football when he arrived in Newcastle at 19, Ivan Toney spent long seasons roaming the lower floors. Before climbing the steps one by one towards the selection, until this first invitation sent by Gareth Southgate for the last two days of the League of Nations of Three Lions against Italy and then Germany. A magnificent reward for the kid from Northampton, raised by a single mother, forced to deprive herself to be sure that he eats his fill every day.
To be called up for the very first time in the national team is always a special moment to experience. Especially when you’re 26, having collected loans in League One before becoming one of the best strikers in the Premier League under the Brentford label. “I was going to call my mom, but my dad wouldn’t have been happy. So I started a video call on the family’s WhatsApp groupreplays Ivan Toney, the new kid on Gareth Southgate’s list, for the DailyMail. Once everyone had joined the call, I started breaking the news, but before I could finish they were all shouting. »
A beautiful moment experienced by the goalscorer Beeswho learned of this summons through his coach, Thomas Frank. “I was going to practice by car and there were traffic jams. I saw a missed call from the coach, I thought he was trying to find out why I was latelaughs the interested party again. I called him back in a very nice voice, and he told me that I had been called up with the national team. I did not know what to say. »
The “Mommy’s Boy”
A call came to reward a great start to the season for the one who already totals five caramels in seven days. Born in Northampton before being raised alongside his two sisters by his only mother – before the latter remarried, giving birth to two boys – Ivan Toney has always given great importance to his family. And in particular to Lisa, his mother. “Several times she skipped meals to make sure I ate my fill. I discovered this only a few months ago, it makes you realize how much you don’t always understand what your parents do for youhe was moved last year in the columns of Sun. Hearing that touches you. »
A strong relationship that influenced the first steps of the young man, who defines himself as a ” mom’s son ” . “She sends me messages after games saying: “Don’t let them stress you out, don’t let them get on your nerves”because she knows that I can sometimes be sanguinehe reveals again. She always tells me: “Be the great striker that you are, step up and do it right.” It doesn’t matter if I score or don’t score, she sends me messages to make sure everything is fine. »
An attachment to his family that the boy demonstrated in April 2021. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, the island where his father is from and where his grandparents – already deceased at the time of the events – lived all their lives, is struck by the eruption of Soufrière. ” I was shocked, he then complains to Sky Sports after deciding to raise funds. It’s so close [de moi] because my grandparents were from there. They are no longer of this world, but if they were here today they would do a lot to help. I think it’s only right that I wear the family name with pride and do what I can. »
From adversity comes confidence
The youngest player in Northampton history and then a big hope when he arrived at Newcastle in 2015 at the age of 19, Toney made his acquaintance with the Premier League with two entries against Manchester United and Chelsea. Before going on six loans in three years to finally bounce back to Peterborough then Brentford, in the summer of 2020. With the stated objective of returning to the Premier League. ” That’s a beautiful story. This country has had journeys like this in recent seasons, like Jamie Vardy, and I find that extraordinary. greeted Mikel Arteta in recent days on the sidelines of Arsenal’s victory against the Bees. Shocks at the top that the small west London club has given itself the right to play thanks in particular to its serial scorer, in full confidence since his reunion with the first division, six years later.
It must be said that his faith in himself has rarely been shaken. In February 2021, he offered victory to his family against Stoke. “Their trainer, Michael O’Neill, came after me, so I said to him: “I’m going to score and I’ll come celebrate in front of you in a minute,” Toney swears. A promise kept by the man with multiple tattoos. Among which this little cat observing its reflection in a puddle of water and seeing an impressive tiger. “It shows that it doesn’t matter how other people see you. If you see yourself as a winner, you are going to be one. And it doesn’t just work in football. If you want to achieve something, no matter what other people think, you have to make sure you achieve it. » And what does it matter if the path is winding.
By Tom Binet