Enter your email to read this article
Read news on any topic, in one place, from publishers like The Economist, FT, Bloomberg and more.

Ivan Toney will not make England debut against Italy as five players left out of squad

Ivan Toney will not make his England debut against Italy on Friday night after being left out of Gareth Southgate's 23-man squad for the Nations League clash.

The Brentford striker, 26, was hoping to make his international bow after being called up the England squad for the first time. He's enjoyed a brilliant start to the season, scoring five goals in seven Premier League games to catch Southgate's attention.

Yet Toney will not feature against European champions Italy. Marc Guehi, Ben Chilwell and Jordan Henderson have also failed to make the bench, while John Stones is suspended after being sent off in the humiliating 4-0 home defeat to Hungary in June.

Toney may get another chance to make his debut when England face Germany at Wembley on Monday night - their final fixture before the squad is named for the World Cup, which starts in November.

Toney had insisted he wouldn't let his England opportunity pass when speaking to the media earlier this week.

"I never doubted it [that he would get a chance]," he said on Tuesday. "I have full confidence in myself, I feel like I have to keep working hard and it makes it that much sweeter when you get the chance. I never played for any of the ages groups, I've gone straight into the senior squad. It's a great achievement, I'm very proud and I wouldn't have wanted it to go any other way.

Ivan Toney will not play against Italy on Friday night (Getty Images)

Do you think Ivan Toney will make his debut against Germany? Let us know in the comments below!

"This is my opportunity now. I'm excited and confident for it and I'm very hungry. I've been working for this moment and it's here now. I'm not going to let it go by me. I'm going to take it with both hands and make the most of the opportunity I have.

"There's never pressure - I don't think I've ever felt pressure in my career up to date. It's more excitement and it's such a privilege to be playing alongside such quality players and represent my country. I'll go with the flow and hopefully make the most of it.

"It's a massive opportunity to get myself on the plane, but we've got to go day by day. Hopefully I'll get some minutes with the next two games that we have and take my chance. Hopefully it's enough to see me into the squad."

Toney's omission is a blow to his chances of making Southgate's 26-man squad for the finals in Qatar. There are limited spots available, particularly in the central striker position, where Harry Kane is a certainty to lead the line.

Tammy Abraham and Toney are in this current squad vying to, effectively, be his back-up, while the likes of Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Callum Wilson haven't given up hope either, although both have had injury issues.

But with Raheem Sterling able to play as a false nine and Marcus Rashford returning to form at Manchester United and pushing for a recall, there may only be room in the squad for one direct back-up to Kane - with Roma's Abraham seemingly leading the way in that battle.

On what Southgate has told him during training, Toney added: "Just be yourself, you're here for a reason and you're not here to make up the numbers. Just do what's got you here and be yourself.

"They're the main things he's told me to do so I'm sure I'll do that and hopefully it's enough to keep me in the squad for the World Cup."

On Toney's call up, Southgate said: "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."