Ivan Toney has revealed he thought he was at the end of an argument with Thomas Frank when he received the news that he had indeed been called up to the England squad for the first time.
The Brentford striker’s early season form was rewarded this week when Gareth Southgate called the 26-year-old into his squad for the final English Nations League games later this month.
With five goals in his first seven games for the Bees this season, there had been speculation Toney would earn his first senior call-up and it was Brentford’s boss who broke the news to his star striker.
However, after getting stuck in traffic on his way to practice, Toney thought the call from his Brentford boss related to his being late, unaware of the career-changing news he was about to hear.
“I was driving to practice and there was some traffic,” Toney said.
“I had a missed call from the gaffer and I thought he was calling to see where I am and why I’m late.
“I called him back and used my ‘friendly voice’ and he told me I’d been selected for the senior team. I said thank you and that was it, I was shocked and didn’t know what to say. As a few minutes went by we talked more and it was a powerful moment for me – I couldn’t wait to tell my family about it.”
Toney revealed he decided to call through his family’s group chat rather than prioritizing who to tell first – and described his mum and dad’s emotional response.
“I wanted to call my mom but then dad wouldn’t be happy, then I wanted to call my dad but my mom wouldn’t be happy,” he said.
“So I video called the family group chat; whoever answered would hear it first.
“My dad knew what was going on but when everyone was on the phone I started saying I got a call and before I could even finish everyone was screaming. My mom screamed for twenty minutes and my dad was outside honking the horn.”
The call-up completes a remarkable journey for the former Newcastle man, who was loaned out seven times at St James’ Park before finally finding a home at League One side Peterborough United.
After scoring 49 goals in 94 games for Posh, Toney joined Brentford and has since climbed the leagues before eventually finding international recognition.
“From the second division, then the first division, the league to the premier league and internationally. That’s what you dream of as a little boy. Getting the call-up was a big ambition that was fulfilled,” he said.
Toney is the first Bees player to be called up for England since 1939 and he says the fact that he also represents the club makes him very proud.
“It was a massive moment for me and my family, but also for the club,” he added. “No one has been drafted for long, so it feels great to be the person that gets drafted.
“I couldn’t do it without the club playing a role. Everyone at Brentford has helped get me to where I am today and I can’t thank them enough.