England striker selection gamble shows Euro 2024 attacking intent, says Ivan Toney

Ivan Toney believes Gareth ­Southgate’s decision to take three strikers to Euro 2024 is proof he is ready to send England on the attack in Germany.

At recent tournaments, Southgate has tended to find room for only one back-up No9 to support Harry Kane, but sprung a surprise by naming both Toney and Ollie Watkins in his final 26-man squad for this summer’s campaign.

The England manager has long been criticised over a supposedly conservative approach, but has made several bold selection calls, including axing the likes of Jordan Henderson, Marcus Rashford and Jack Grealish, and Toney believes the top-heavy make-up of his squad is proof the Three Lions are about to be let off the leash.

“It shows he’s looking to be more attacking. He’s bringing three strikers for a reason,” Toney said. “There’s great quality between all three of us. When we’re called upon, I’m sure we’ll have a chance to deliver and I’m sure we will.

“When we get our chance, we have to take it and help the boys.”

It was long-assumed that Watkins and Toney were in direct competition for one place in Southgate’s squad, and while the Aston Villa man enjoyed a prolific season, Toney struggled on the back of his eight-month gambling ban.

The Brentford striker scored four times in five matches on his return to action, but then went 12 league games without a goal from mid-February to the season’s end, though he did open his ­international account in March’s friendly against Belgium.

Hoping for a chance: Ivan Toney will support Harry Kane at Euro 2024, along with Ollie Watkins (The FA via Getty Images)
Hoping for a chance: Ivan Toney will support Harry Kane at Euro 2024, along with Ollie Watkins (The FA via Getty Images)

“I wouldn’t say ‘doubt’,” he said, when asked whether he feared missing out on a first major tournament. “I got injured, which kind of stalled me and there were games I was playing through an injury, trying to get into the Euros squad.

“I finished the season okay, not as well as I wanted, but the main thing has been staying fit, doing what I can. The manager’s seen something — enough — in previous games to bring me here.”

Both Toney and Watkins come into the tournament knowing they will play, at best, second-fiddle to Kane, but with the England captain having struggled with a back problem towards the end of the club season with Bayern Munich, the 28-year-old says he is ready to make an impact if required.

“You just have to be ready for when the chance comes. Harry will start most games, we know that,” Toney told talkSPORT. “But if we’re doing well in training, you never know. Me and Ollie will be chomping at the bit, we can’t wait to be playing.”

Toney looks set to leave Brentford this summer and says he is ready for a big-money move.

Manchester United are among the clubs interested in Toney, but he insists talks over his future are on the backburner.

“Going into a major tournament, that is my main focus now,” he said.