Brentford’s Evan Toni received his first England call-up from Gareth Southgate for Nations League matches against Italy and Germany later this month.
Toni, who has scored 13 Premier League goals since January, has been called up after doubts about Marcus Rashford’s fitness.
The 24-year-old Manchester United striker is still feeling the effects of the injury he suffered in the 3-1 Premier League win over Arsenal on September 4, when he scored two goals to take his tally of the season to three.
After United missed the opening game of the Europa League, losing 1-0 at home to Real Sociedad, Rashford will again be absent for his second group game away to Sherif Tiraspol on Thursday.
Tony, 26, has scored 17 goals and six assists in 39 appearances for the Bees since the start of last season, and scored a 28-minute hat-trick in a thrilling 5-2 home win against Leeds in September. 3.
England have never crowned him in any youth age group and he was reportedly courted by the Jamaica Football Association last year in an effort to persuade him to pledge his allegiance to them.
There is also no room in the squad for Rashford’s Manchester United teammate Jadon Sancho, despite his impressive start to the season under Eric ten Hag.
The 22-year-old has scored twice in six Premier League games this season, but made his last appearance on the international scene when he played 72 minutes of England’s 5-0 World Cup qualifier win over Andorra on 9 October 2021.
Meanwhile, Tottenham’s Eric Dier, who has not won an international title since November 2020, has been called into the squad to bolster Southgate’s defensive options.
England will meet Italy away on Friday 23 September at 7.45 pm, before hosting Germany on Monday 26 September at 7.45 pm.
The full 28-man England squad
goalkeepers: Dean Henderson, Nick Pope, Aaron Ramsdale.
Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ben Chilwell, Conor Cody, Eric Dyer, Mark Gueye, Rhys James, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw, John Stones, Fikayo Tomori, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker.
midfielders: Judd Bellingham, Mason Mount, Calvin Phillips, Declan Rice, James Ward-Prowse.
attackers: Tammy Abraham, Jarrod Bowen, Phil Foden, Jack Grealish, Harry Kane, Bukayo Saka, Raheem Sterling, Evan Toni.
‘Tony’s penalty more than justified his inclusion’
Dan Long from Sky Sports:
“It has been 83 years since a player from Brentford won his first England title. We still have a few bee fans who were alive when Les Smith appeared as a substitute against Romania on May 24, 1939, less than four months before the outbreak of World War II. The second, and fewer, if any, will remember the occasion.
“But this nearly century-long wait is likely to come to an end.
“It is the more than justified inclusion of 26-year-old striker Tony, who was playing in the Premier League just four seasons ago. Prior to his move from Peterborough to West London, he made it clear that he was so confident in his ability that he could move up to the Premier League, and had Many laughed at this claim.
“In 2021/2022 – the Bees’ first season in the first division since 1946/47 – he led the streak admirably, scoring 17 goals in 33 league games, and he started this campaign with an extra spring in his stride, with five goals. From just six shots on Goal – including a superb hat-trick in the 5-2 win over Leeds – and two more passes.
“He’s not afraid of getting caught elsewhere on the pitch, which often goes unnoticed. He often has a key presence when Brentford defends set-pieces, and has won 20 aerial challenges so far and attempted six assists in his game.
“But the most interesting thing, from an England perspective, is Tony’s penalty kick record. He has been Brentford’s first choice penalty taker since joining the club and he has scored every one of his 18 shots he has taken. Back in March, said Thomas Frank, head coach. The Bees team, it’s “the best penalty shootout shooter in the world at the moment”.
“Tony, lazy, often called him a penalty dealer and nothing more. But as in the past, he finally laughed.”
Louis Jones from Sky Sports:
“One of the huge areas of concern for Gareth Southgate is the personnel and structure of his defense in Qatar. Kyle Walker, John Stones, Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw played every minute of England’s knockout matches in their run to the Euro 2020 final. A consistent team selection in a team based their game around Being solid in midfield was a huge help for Southgate in the big moments of that tournament.
“Now the playing field looks fragile.
“Walker is in the last squad, but he missed Manchester City’s Champions League win over Borussia Dortmund due to injury, while Maguire and Shaw played only 324 minutes of the Premier League between them this season and both lost first-team positions to new deals in Eric. Ten eras.
Stones started his last three Premier League games with City as centre-back, but switched to right-back in Walker’s absence for the midweek match with Dortmund.
“So what is Southgate doing in those two pivotal games before leaving for the World Cup? Does he stay loyal and use the opportunity as a way to get 90 minutes into Maguire and Shaw’s legs or try something new?
“Eric Dier has become a mainstay for Antonio Conte’s Spurs as he plays as a central figure in three defences – a formation that Southgate has regularly used in big matches for England. Meanwhile, the form of Fikayo Tomori and Marc Guihi cannot be ignored, especially if Maguire is considered rusty. Too unreliable internationally.
“There is a lot for the England manager to think about. Not ideal in a tournament where England are expected to go deep into the corner.”
World Cup Group B matches in England
November 21: Iran (Khalifa International Stadium, Al Rayyan) – kick-off at 1 pm
November 25: United States of America (Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor) – kick-off 7pm
November 29: Wales (Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan) – kick-off 7pm
Gareth Southgate has revealed his last England squad ahead of the World Cup – but who will make the starting lineup?
What would your England starting line-up look like if the World Cup started today and all the players were available? Use the interactive selector to choose your team below, screenshots you select and share on Twitter Tweet embed.