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Ivan Toney named in England squad for first time for Nations League games against Italy and Germany

Gareth Southgate has moved to include Ivan Toney - who has scored 13 Premier League goals since January - with Marcus Rashford injured; Eric Dier back in the squad, but Jadon Sancho misses out

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Gareth Southgate's final England squad before he names the players travelling to the World Cup is mixture of trademark loyalty and the chance for Brentford's Ivan Toney

Brentford's Ivan Toney has been handed his first England call-up by Gareth Southgate for the Nations League games against Italy and Germany later this month.

Toney, who has scored 13 Premier League goals since January, has been called up following doubts over Marcus Rashford's fitness.

The 24-year-old Manchester United forward is still feeling the effects of an injury picked up in the 3-1 Premier League victory over Arsenal on September 4, when he scored twice to take his season's tally to three.

Having sat out United's opening Europa League game, a 1-0 home defeat to Real Sociedad, Rashford will again be missing for their second group game away to Sheriff Tiraspol on Thursday.

Toney, 26, has scored 17 top-flight goals and registered six assists in 39 appearances for the Bees since the start of last season, and scored a 28-minute hat-trick in the thrilling 5-2 win at home to Leeds on September 3.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Brentford’s win against Leeds in the Premier League.

He has not been capped by England at any youth age group and was reportedly courted by the Jamaican Football Federation last year in an attempt to persuade him to declare his allegiance to them.

There is no place in the squad for Rashford's Manchester United team-mate Jadon Sancho either, despite his impressive start to the season under Erik ten Hag.

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The 22-year-old has scored twice in six Premier League appearances this term, but last featured on the international stage when he played 72 minutes of England's 5-0 World Cup qualifying win over Andorra on October 9 2021.

Jadon Sancho is congratulated by Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes after scoring Manchester United's opener at Leicester
Image: Jadon Sancho last featured for England in October 2021

Meanwhile, Tottenham's Eric Dier, who has not earned an international cap since November 2020, has been recalled to the squad to bolster Southgate's defensive options.

England face Italy away on Friday September 23 at 7.45pm, before hosting Germany on Monday September 26 at 7.45pm.

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After a call-up to the England squad, we take a look at all of Ivan Toney's five goals and two assists so far this season for Brentford.

England's 28-man squad in full

Goalkeepers: Dean Henderson, Nick Pope, Aaron Ramsdale.

Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ben Chilwell, Conor Coady, Eric Dier, Marc Guehi, Reece James, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw, John Stones, Fikayo Tomori, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker.

Midfielders: Jude Bellingham, Mason Mount, Kalvin Phillips, Declan Rice, James Ward-Prowse.

Forwards: Tammy Abraham, Jarrod Bowen, Phil Foden, Jack Grealish, Harry Kane, Bukayo Saka, Raheem Sterling, Ivan Toney.

Southgate: We have picked on the basis of form and capability over a long period

Shortly after the squad was announced, England boss Southgate explained the justification of his selections on

He said: "We recognise the country is still in a period of mourning and my thoughts remain with the Royal Family. While it is important to explain some of our decisions around selection, we didn't feel it appropriate to hold a full press conference, when it might divert attention from where people's minds should be at this time.

"This is a bigger than normal squad and part of the rationale is that we are very close to a World Cup and we feel, although our results were disappointing in the summer, we have picked on the basis of form and capability over a long period.

"There were certain players we wanted to keep involved this time, but that said, it doesn't mean that this is the end for some of the others who aren't involved. Marcus Rashford, for example, has shown some encouraging signs recently. He is a player we know well so if he can perform at a high level in the next few weeks, he of course will be under consideration.

"Clearly, we have a number of players including Ben Chilwell, Luke Shaw, Harry Maguire and Kalvin Phillips who are not playing a lot of minutes with their club. It is not ideal, but we feel they have been and can be, important players for us. It is not a perfect situation but there is still a lot of football to be played before Qatar.

"With Eric Dier, he has been playing well for a period of time. We think it is a really close call across our centre-backs and he has deserved to be picked back in the group. We know what a good character he is. He fits in with the culture and has great international experience and leadership qualities.

"With Ivan Toney, we have been tracking him for a long time. I had a good chat with Thomas Frank about him last season. His form and his qualities - not only his goalscoring but his technical ability, build-up play and aerial prowess - gives us a different threat to some of the other players we could pick.

"Reflecting on the last couple of months, clearly as an international manager you don't have any games to quickly put the disappointment behind you. We have had a long period to reflect but now we are really looking forward to two high-quality matches that will be a great test for us and a crucial part of our preparation for the World Cup. It is only eight weeks until we will be naming our squad for Qatar so every minute counts."

'Penalty king Toney has more than justified his inclusion'

Sky Sports' Dan Long:

"It has been 83 long years since a Brentford player last won a senior England cap. There are precious few Bees fans still with us who will have been alive when Les Smith appeared against Romania on May 24 1939, less than four months before the outbreak of World War Two. Even fewer, if any, will remember the occasion.

"But that near century-long wait is likely to soon come to an end.


"It is a more than justified inclusion for 26-year-old striker Toney, who was playing in League One just four seasons ago. Before his move from Peterborough to west London, he made it abundantly clear that he was so confident in his ability that he could step up to the Premier League. The claim was scoffed at by many.

"In 2021/22 - the Bees' first top-flight season since 1946/47 - he led the line admirably, with 17 goal involvements in 33 league appearances and he has started this campaign with an added spring in his step, with five goals from just six shots on target - including a superb hat-trick in a 5-2 win over Leeds - and another two assists.

"He is not afraid to get stuck in elsewhere on the pitch, which often goes unnoticed. He is often a key presence when Brentford defend set-pieces, has won 20 aerial challenges so far and attempted six crosses. There is a certain selflessness to his game.


"But what is most interesting, from an England perspective, is Toney's penalty record. He has been Brentford's first-choice spot-kick taker ever since joining the club and he has scored every single one of the 18 he has taken. Back in March, Bees head coach Thomas Frank said he is the 'best penalty taker in the world at this moment in time'

"Toney has often been, lazily, dubbed a penalty merchant and nothing more. But as has been the case in the past, he has had the last laugh."

The case for the defence...

Sky Sports' Lewis Jones:

"One massive area of concern for Gareth Southgate will be the personnel and structure of his defence in Qatar. Kyle Walker, John Stones, Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw played every minute of England's knockout games at their run to the Euro 2020 final. Having such a consistent team selection in a side that base their game around being solid down the centre of the pitch was a huge help for Southgate in the big moments of that tournament.

"Now that area of the pitch looks brittle.

Harry Maguire (R) and Luke Shaw (L) were unused subs during Man Utd's 2-1 win over Liverpool
Image: Harry Maguire (R) and Luke Shaw (L) were unused subs during Man Utd's 2-1 win over Liverpool

"Walker is in the latest squad but missed Manchester City's Champions League win over Borussia Dortmund with an injury whilst Maguire and Shaw have played just 324 minutes of Premier League football between them this season with both losing their first team spots to new signings in the Erik ten Hag era.

"Stones has started the last three Premier League matches for City at centre-back but was moved out to right-back in the absence of Walker in the midweek clash with Dortmund.

"So, what does Southgate do in these two pivotal games before departing for the World Cup? Does he stay loyal and use the opportunity as a way of getting 90 minutes into the legs of Maguire and Shaw or try something new?

"Eric Dier has become an absolute mainstay of Antonio Conte's Tottenham side playing as the central figure in a back three - a formation Southgate has regularly used in big games for England. Meanwhile, the form of Fikayo Tomori and Marc Guehi can't be ignored, especially if Maguire is deemed too rusty to be relied upon at international level.

"There is so much for the England boss to ponder. Not ideal with a tournament that England are expected to go deep in just around the corner."

England's World Cup group B fixtures

Gareth Southgate
Image: Gareth Southgate

November 21: Iran (Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan) - kick-off 1pm

November 25: USA (Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor) - kick-off 7pm

November 29: Wales (Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan) - kick-off 7pm

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