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Ivan Toney: Brentford striker admits there is ‘no right time to move’ as he makes his return to football | Football News | Sky Sports

Ivan Toney: Brentford striker admits there is ‘no right time to move’ as he makes his return to football | Football News | Sky Sports

Ivan Toney has reiterated his desire to play for a “top club competing for trophies” with the Brentford striker set to end his eight-month ban from football.

Toney’s last competitive match was in the 1-0 defeat at Liverpool on May 6, but he has been allowed to train with his team-mates since September.

He made his England debut during a European Championship qualifying win against Ukraine last March and has scored 32 goals in 64 Premier League appearances for Brentford.

Toney – who was fined £50,000 and warned about his future conduct for 232 breaches of the FA’s betting rules – has been linked with both Arsenal and Chelsea during the transfer window.

Saturday 20th January 5:00pm

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    Speaking exclusively to Sky Sports, the 27-year-old has not ruled out leaving the Gtech Community Stadium this month.

    “You can never predict when is the right time to move elsewhere, but I think it’s obvious I want to play for a top club,” he said.

    “Everybody wants to play for a top club, that is fighting for titles. Whether it’s this January that is the right time for a club to come in and pay the right money, who knows?

    “But my main focus is to do what I do on the pitch, and let the background work take care of itself.”

    Ivan Toney transfer chat to Arsenal

    Thomas Frank is hoping to keep hold of the 27-year-old at least until the end of the season

    What is the likelihood of Toney leaving this month?

    Latest from Sky Sports News reporter Lyall Thomas:

    “Unfortunately for Ivan Toney, it looks as though the market conditions just aren’t there to facilitate a move to a bigger club this month.

    “It’s been a sluggish market, with not much movement and little scope for more investment from the top clubs. All of them are shaving close to the bone in terms of Profitability and Sustainability Rules (PSR), and the recent charges laid on Everton and Nottingham Forest have spooked clubs even further.

    “They have been unable to sell their extra talent to other clubs, with Europe struggling financially and even Saudi Arabia avoid pushing for deals featuring large sums of cash.

    “Brentford also want to keep Toney until the summer and have slapped a £100m valuation on him; a fee Arsenal and Chelsea just cannot afford to pay this month.

    “Toney would not rule out a move if he is asked because he wouldn’t want to end all hope and put those clubs off, but he has also said he owes Brentford for the faith and support they have shown him throughout his ban. When he spoke exclusively to Sky Sports News earlier this month, he said he wanted to repay them.

    “The best thing for Toney would be to get back playing regularly for Brentford, scoring goals, surging them up the table and being ready for all the offers that are certain to come his way in the summer.”

    Toney still has his sights on being part of England’s Euro 2024 squad, and says he looks to the country’s captain as a source of inspiration.

    “To be the best, you have to play with the best and compete against the best,” he added. “We all know Harry Kane is one of the best strikers in the world and he’s been doing it for some years now.

    “If I want to be England’s No 1, then I have to compete against him. He’s not a bad striker to be taking tips off and be training with. I just have to keep scoring goals, keep playing well and then who knows what could happen?

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    Brentford striker Ivan Toney says he’s ‘sorted out’ his gambling addiction but admits the hardest thing to do is to open up about how it affected him

    “If I just fall short, then hopefully I can become the second best in the world.”

    Kane, who scored 10 more than Toney last term, left Tottenham for Bayern Munich for more than £100m with just a year left on his contract, while Toney will still have 18 months left in January and is three years younger than Kane at 27.

    Toney admits he has a goal target for the rest of the season, without disclosing it, with the collective focus being on keeping Brentford in the Premier League.

    The west London club have stood firmly by Toney and his family since he admitted to 232 FA betting charges, putting everything in place for him to return and make an impact.

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    Brentford striker Ivan Toney opens up on dealing with his ban, getting back to scoring goals and addiction in an exclusive interview with Sky Sports News

    The striker was open when asked about being diagnosed with a gambling addiction and his mental state.

    “I’m fine. Things happen in life and it is what it is. You can only focus on what you can do better. Whatever situation you are in, it could always be worse.

    “You’ve got to look at the positives and move forward in life.”

    When pushed on his stance on his punishment, Toney continued: “Of course, I’m responsible. If there’s something you shouldn’t be doing, then you should get punished for it.

    “I’ve had my punishment and it’s done. If you go against the rules and do something that you shouldn’t be doing, then there’s always going to be a punishment.

    “Whether I think it’s harsh or not, it’s not really my place to be saying. My opinion doesn’t really matter.”

    Toney was more closed when asked to detail what it is like to be in the grip of an addiction.

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    Brentford boss Thomas Frank is confident striker Ivan Toney will stay at the club beyond the January transfer window

    “I couldn’t tell you perhaps as much as other [addicts]. Sometimes, you don’t realise what you’re doing in the moment. You only realise afterwards you’re doing something you shouldn’t be doing.

    “But it’s sorted out now. I’ve been speaking to people about it and I feel it’s sorted now. I will now be focusing on doing the right thing moving forward and there won’t be any more silly punishments like this.

    “I don’t have the urge to do anything like this now so it’s all good. As men, you find it hard to open up about certain things. I tend to keep everything inside. I don’t like sharing anything. I’ve changed a bit as I’ve had to share certain bits of information, but not loads.

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    Brentford striker Ivan Toney scored a Panenka penalty against Brondby IF as he gets closer to his return

    “It’s still hard for me to open up and share certain emotions but that’s me as a person. Maybe that will change, but as humans we need to open up more in certain situations.”

    Earlier on Wednesday, Toney celebrated with a social media post declaring he is “free”.

    Toney’s suspension for breaching Football Association gambling rules is now over – and he could return to action on Saturday in Brentford’s home Premier League game against Nottingham Forest.

    Head coach Thomas Frank said before his side’s FA Cup replay defeat at Wolves on Tuesday night that Toney “will be absolutely on it and ready for Saturday” – and the man himself says he has has plenty of time to reflect since last May.

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    A reminder of what Ivan Toney will bring back to Brentford when he returns to action later this month

    “I feel like a free man. A massive weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I can’t wait to get back to enjoying playing football again this Saturday. It’s a big day today but an even bigger day on Saturday.

    “My whole family knows what the weekends are about – they travel down to watch me play football. Missing that for eight months is painful.

    “It’s painful for me knowing I’ve ruined their weekend. I can’t wait to repay them in the next games, pick up where I left off and get the goals back under my belt and give them something to be happy about.”

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    Ivan Toney scored a hat-trick for Brentford in a closed doors friendly against Southampton U23s as he nears a first-team return

    “To a certain extent [there is guilt] but things happen in life. You take it on the chin and you move forward with it. I should have been helping the team but there are other team-mates who have roles to play and step in when needed.

    “I feel bad but I can’t dwell on it. I can’t change what’s happened. What’s done is done. Hopefully I can now put on a show.”

    Toney feels everything was paused – but now he can press play again.

    “I feel like I lost connection, the Wifi went! But now we’re back on again.”

    Toney says it has been the “little things” he has missed on a matchday, such as walking to the stadium, the warm-ups – even if he admits he hates them – but walking out of the tunnel ahead of kick-off has been visualised ahead of the weekend.

    The striker has warned Premier League defences he will make an immediate impact.

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    Ivan Toney reassures former team-mate Pontus Jansson he is staying with Brentford amid speculation he could leave the club in the January transfer window

    “I believe you will see [the real Ivan Toney] straightaway. I’d like to think it will be there straightaway as I’ve been playing well behind closed doors, training well.

    “I feel I can pick up where I left off. I’ve got nothing to prove to anybody but just to myself I want to focus on starting right and scoring goals sooner rather than later.”

    In the first four months of his ban, Toney was unable to be at Brentford’s training ground or have any physical contact at all with the club. He says that was “painful” and the hardest part.

    “You can come a bit lost in the world, but the good job is I had the right people around me to help me get to places to train and do the right exercises.

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    Brentford B’s assistant coach Sam Saunders praises the mindset of Ivan Toney as he nears is return and says he’s confident the striker will remain at the club in the January window.

    “When I was working hard away from the pitch, I had a moment to feel sorry for myself but then after that you snap out of it. I hope I’ve chosen the right way to get back on the pitch.

    “When I was back training with the team, I was heading in the right direction.

    “It did initially take its toll on me but after I started to look at the bigger picture, taking care of the family, I got back to enjoying life as a whole.

    “Now, I’ve got pure excitement. I’ll probably be knackered after 30 minutes but the excitement will get me through the 90 minutes – if I get the 90. Football is a luxury. Us as footballers are privileged to be doing the sport we love. I can’t wait to get started again.”

    Behind the camera: Toney’s ambition shines through

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    Brentford striker Ivan Toney says he can’t wait to return to Premier League action and is even looking forward to his pre-match warm-ups!

    Sky Sports News reporter Patrick Davison:

    “I can’t think of many times where a player of his profile has come into Sky Studios before so I was impressed that he made the effort. What I’m often struck by – and I had this with Trent Alexander-Arnold as well – is how confident and the belief players of that level have. His determination to be a really top player really shone through.

    “I was probably a little bit surprised. It was interesting to hear how forthright he was on what he might do next. He was very open and honest about wanting to play for a big club one day.

    “That answer was the thing that struck home when we were together to speak about quite a serious subject. There was an opportunity to say something along the lines of ‘I’m staying’ so it did feel he was leaving the door open to maybe something happening quickly, which was a surprise.

    “You can really tell how much he’s missed football. This is a guy who is openly talking about being England’s No 9 – and he knows how good Harry Kane is. It’s just obvious, if he’s as good as he wants to be, he is going to end up somewhere else at some point.

    “As a Brentford fan, you hope it’s later rather than sooner. The club were very keen to put him up and to do something. The player has been smart and gone out of his way. He’s been smart to now draw a line under it. When he scores a couple of goals, this will now become a chapter of his past. It was just important we got the tone right. That was the challenge.

    “He said that doing interviews and opening up on certain subjects doesn’t come naturally to him, so his story can be a lesson to all of us. Even if you’re not comfortable expressing yourself, you can get there.”

    Watch Ivan Toney’s return to Premier League football as Brentford host Nottingham Forest live on Sky Sports on Saturday January 20; kick-off 5.30pm. The game can also be streamed using a NOW TV pass.

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