Simon Jordan says Brentford talisman Ivan Toney’s inclusion in England’s Nations League squad could have been a ‘token gesture’.
Bees striker Toney received his first international call up for the Three Lions’ games against Italy and Germany this month after an eye catching start to the season, scoring five goals in eight appearances.
Meanwhile, Marc Guehi, Ben Chilwell, Jordan Henderson and John Stones are also missing out.
For talkSPORT pundit Jordan, though, it was namely Toney’s absence that led him to be underwhelmed by England manager Gareth Southgate’s team selection for Friday’s game.
“Obviously he’s [Southgate] got to set up for this game, perhaps after the last defeat in the Euro Nations, he feels he’s got to go with a strong 18 that he knows and trusts to be able to get a result in Italy,” the White and Jordan host began.
“But I would really like to see Toney being given an opportunity to stake a claim for the World Cup squad. I really like him as a footballer, I like him as a fella, in the way he presents himself in the media.
“I think he’s incredibly talented and I think he’d give us a different option. This looks and feels to me that including Ivan Toney in the squad was a bit of a token gesture in terms of players who are popular at this moment in time.
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“The media were clambering for him to be in there. He [Southgate] didn’t really have the intention of giving him [Toney] an opportunity to stake a claim.”
Despite being left out of Friday’s squad, it’s likely Toney will still be in the mix for England’s trip to Qatar for the World Cup this winter and compete for a spot with striker and captain Harry Kane.
And Jordan continued to say he was ‘disappointed’ Toney hasn’t been given the chance for a run out ahead of the tournament, given it would give Southgate a chance to see if he could offer England a ‘Plan B’.
The Bees man has come a long way to get to this point, considering he hadn’t even kicked a ball in the Premier League when England suffered their painful defeat to Italy last summer in the final of Euro 2020.
But whilst Toney will have to wait for Monday’s game against Germany to potentially make his debut, familiar faces from the Three Lions European Championships run are set to start – including Jude Bellingham and Harry Maguire.
Southgate has been widely criticised for still selecting Maguire in his starting XIs in recent months considering the Manchester United captain’s varying form and lack of minutes this term.
Maguire has made just two Premier League starts this season and Jordan’s reaction to his selection for the game in Milan shows he hasn’t changed his stance on the Red Devils defender having a place in England’s starting XI.
“I think Harry Maguire could cut his own leg off and Southgate would still pick him,” he said.
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