With recent news coverage involving Ivan Toney dominated by his expletive remarks on holiday towards Brentford, he’ll be glad to have put all that tabloid drama to one side with his recent goalscoring exploits for The Bees.
Any faint reminders of his newspaper headline worthy drunken outburst have vanished, five goals in his last two starts propelling Thomas Frank’s men away from the possibility of an instant return to the Championship. Instead, with the likes of Christian Eriksen bolstering the Bees creatively, two huge wins over fellow relegation candidates Norwich City and Burnley has seen a sizeable points cushion emerge between Frank’s men and the bottom three.
Having earned his stripes in the Premier League – a goalscoring machine in the Championship and League One prior – Ivan Toney is once again Brentford’s star-man when they need him. Will the former Newcastle man fancy a move away? Even if he does move on at the end of the season, he’ll forever remain a hero to the Brentford faithful.
His recent goals haven’t been the most audacious finishes – many coming directly from the penalty spot – but Brentford’s main man up top continues to find the net when his side need him the most. Other teams lack an Ivan Toney style figure, prepared to do whatever it takes in order to get a vital goal – Norwich only really have Teemu Pukki up top, a measly 18 goals scored this season across the board costing them. With Toney on 11 goals for the entire season to date, he isn’t far off the collective total for The Canaries.
Toney hasn’t always been this prolific goalscoring animal however, a whole host of loan spells up and down the Football League allowing Brentford’s number 17 an opportunity to cut his teeth. After mixed success out on loan up and down the country, Peterborough United would gamble on Toney’s services permanently after Newcastle United decided to get rid. Now, with hindsight attached, Newcastle will regret letting such a potent striker leave for so cheap when they did.
Ivan Toney would be an instant success at Posh, scoring 16 goals during the 2018/19 season with audacious strikes such as his half-way line goal away at Bradford City in the FA Cup standing out. The season after would see Brentford swoop for his services, 24 goals in just 32 appearances before COVID-19 curtailed the campaign enough reason for The Bees to seal the deal for Peterborough’s star-man at the time. Tottenham were allegedly interested in his services too, but Toney opted to join the Championship promotion hopefuls.
As was the case when he made the step-up from the Championship to the Premier League initially, many doubted whether Ivan could replicate his League One numbers in the second tier. Those who doubted him look incredibly foolish now, Ivan Toney the missing piece of the jigsaw Thomas Frank’s men needed to finally secure promotion to the Premier League. He was ruthless in his pursuit of more goals at the higher level, transitioning more into a poacher for Brentford as a fox-in-the-box style striker for The Bees.
Often, the goals he scored weren’t the prettiest – tapping in an effort to round off a move, in the right space to finish off a rebound to give Brentford a more comfortable cushion in the game. He would break Glenn Murray’s Championship goalscoring record in the process, scoring 31 goals in total including a decisive penalty in the Championship playoff final to secure promotion for Thomas Frank’s entertainers. Of course, this record has now been obliterated by Aleksandar Mitrovic – the Fulham striker in a league of his own – but there’s no doubt that Ivan Toney will remembered as a frightening striker for the level. Next stop for Ivan Toney, a shot at the big time.
Toney’s season to date might not be his most prolific by any means, but he has become even more pivotal for Brentford in a relegation dog-fight than he was in their promotion story the season prior. Having a number of dry spells this season for The Bees, he has still managed 11 goals which is testament to Toney as a striker – even when he’s not at his most clinical, he still manages to find a way to break his duck more times than not.
His calmness in front of goal has been an outstanding attribute to his game this campaign, heralded as one of the best spot-kick takers in the world according to his Brentford boss. You can see why such glowing assessments are forwarded Toney’s way, two crucial penalties tucked away with ease at Norwich where others might shy away.
The opening strike against Burnley showed off his clinical nature once more, an inch perfect cross from Christian Eriksen gobbled up by Brentford’s number 17 who directed a fine header past Nick Pope. Another penalty would seal the contest, another move involving Eriksen and Toney resulting in the Burnley defender fouling the striker before he could unleash an effort. Coolly firing a penalty past Pope for his second of the afternoon, any doubters to Toney’s ability at Premier League level have now been silenced.
He might not be scoring bags of goals every single game like he did at the levels below the top flight, but he’s always in the correct position to fire home a vital goal to ensure The Bees don’t get sucked into a relegation battle. After no wins in eight made relegation a very real possibility, Ivan Toney has once again proven his worth with five goals in two games to all but seal safety with his crucial interventions.
With the likes of Arsenal circling for Toney’s services, it’ll be intriguing to see where the next chapter of Ivan’s career takes him. He might well decide to stick around at Brentford, the ambition at the club cannot be questioned with signings such as the short-term deal for Christian Eriksen, but there’s no doubt in my mind that Toney can be a big striker for a club higher up the Premier League. Regardless of whether he moves on or stays put, Ivan Toney has more than proven this season that he’s a Premier League calibre striker after having to fight hard to make it to the top tier.