Gareth Southgate has praised Ivan Toney for his ‘very mature’ reaction to missing out on England’s World Cup squad.
The Brentford striker was firmly in the mix for a spot in the 26-man traveling party after scoring nine goals in just 15 appearances for the Bees this term.
The 26-year-old was even called up to the Three Lions squad for their Nations League fixtures in September, but failed to make it onto the pitch.
Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford always looked certain to make the cut, however it was Callum Wilson who also made the squad after scoring six in 10 this term to guide Newcastle to third in the table.
While Wilson will be delighted, Southgate spoke fondly of Toney, Tammy Abraham and Dominic Calvert-Lewin who were all firmly in his thinking for the competition.
Speaking to talkSPORT about his decisions in the striking department: “Tammy is in that group as well because he’s been with us for more of the more recent squads.
“Callum wasn’t available to us in September and that was one of the reasons why we wanted to have a look at Ivan because Callum has had injuries in the past.
“We still feel that Dominic Calvert-Lewin has got so many good attributes as well and unfortunately he’s not able to stay fit.
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“There were a number of players in that mix. At the moment we feel that Callum is in a really good moment, his team are going well and that’s helped and he’s been with us a little bit more before we’ve seen him on the pitch.
“With Ivan, we wanted to find out a little bit more about him last month and he’s done brilliantly to get himself in the frame and now he’s got to use that as a springboard to be available and get involved with England in the future.”
Asked how Toney responded to the disappointing news over the phone, Southgate said: “He’s a strong character and he’s a really solid guy and he took it very well.
“I found him to be very mature and that’s how he reacted to it. I’m sure that the disappointment was there but I have to say he was really professional.”
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