Ivan Toney opens up on Newcastle rejection as he prepares for England chance

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Ivan Toney admits the pain of Newcastle's rejection motivated him to go on and become an England star.

Toney thought he'd hit the big time in 2015 when he left hometown club Northampton for St James' Park.

But the move turned into a nightmare, with Toney making just two appearances in between being sent out on-loan six times in three seasons to places including Barnsley, Shrewsbury and Scunthorpe.

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He joined Peterborough in a £600,000 deal in 2018 and following 40 goals in 76 league games earned a switch to Brentford two seasons later for £5m.

From there he never looked back and now finds himself rubbing shoulders with the cream of English football as he looks to gatecrash Gareth Southgate's England squad for the World Cup.

Newcastle boss Eddie Howe admitted last week his club made a huge blunder allowing Toney to slip through their fingers and never wants to see it happen again. Toney said: "I would say leaving Newcastle when I went to Peterborough, that was an eye-opener.

"That was like 'right, I have to turn my game around to get back up, I might see myself as a Premier League player, but I am a League One player now, I have got to keep fighting and working hard' – and I certainly did that.

"That was a factor that did come into play, (proving Newcastle wrong). I felt like: 'you got rid of me. I am going to show you what I am capable of when I get the chance, whether it is a Premier League side or a League One side.'

"When I left Newcastle and went to Peterborough, I wasn't straight in the team so I had to work much harder. It was about being patient and when your chance comes to take it with both hands. I certainly did that.

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"Looking back if I was a Newcastle owner or manager looking back at a 20-year-old Ivan Toney, would I have taken him? Probably not. They have done what they had to do. They felt I wasn't good enough, so it was up to me to pick myself up and go again."

Toney might have had a tough road to the top, but it hasn't affected his self belief.

The 26-year-old had no nerves when he joined up with the Three Lions yesterday ahead of Nations League games with Italy and Germany. He knew he would always make it and even thinks he can do enough to be on the plane to Qatar 2022.

Toney, who will ask him mum Lisa for permission to have a tattoo commemorating his call-up, said: "I never doubted it. This is my opportunity now. I've got to take it with both hands and I'm excited. I'm confident for it and very hungry.

"I've been working for this moment and here it is now. Hopefully I can make the most of this opportunity I have and it's enough to keep me in the squad for the World Cup.

"There's never pressure. I don't think I've really felt pressure in my career up to date. It's more excitement and, like I said, it's such a privilege to be playing alongside such quality players and representing my country."

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  • Gareth Southgate
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