Sat 25 March 2023 | 17:26

Southgate confirms Toney is in line to make his debut against Ukraine

Ivan Toney is yet to make his England debut after being called up for the second time this month. Although Southgate is considering starting the Brentford striker against Ukraine, he's fully focused on winning the game.

Amid allegations of breaching the Football Association's betting rules, Ivan Toney was called up by Gareth Southgate for England's this month's Euro 2024 qualifiers against Italy and Ukraine. The 27-year-old was an unused substitute in his side's 2-1 victory against Italy on Friday and Southgate confirms he's in line to make his debut against Ukraine.

"Ivan Toney has been very good. We really like him, and he's very much in our thoughts,"

Southgate said at Saturday's pre-match news conference.

"The numbers we've got with us now, there's always the duel objective. There's the desire to see players, but we're in a qualifying group, so the priority is to always win the game."

Southgate confirmed Jordan Henderson and Jude Bellingham are available while Reece James has returned to Chelsea after sustaining a knock. However, the England boss has opted against calling up a replacement for James.

"We've been training with this group all week, so to call someone from outside the group would potentially be quite complicated,"

Southgate said.

"We have no idea where they might be or what their training load has been over the past few days.

"So, if we were going to do that at this point, we would do it with the Under-21s, but they've got a game today, and we think we've just got enough to get through tomorrow's game."

After Walter Winterbottom and Alf Ramsey, Southgate became England's third manager to win 50 games.

"It means we have the chance to make it 51 tomorrow, it's as simple as that,"

he said. "

The past and what we've done up until now is irrelevant.

"I'm just focused on tomorrow's game. We need to win and need to be on six points when we leave Wembley tomorrow.

"If we're going to be considered a top team, we need to back up the performance and result that we showed the other night."

On Ukraine, who are playing their first qualifying fixture amid a backdrop of war with Russia, Southgate said:

"They're a proud group of players.

"They are totally committed to bringing enjoyment to their public.

"We of course have huge sympathy with what's going on, but tomorrow is a game of football and we're fully focused on trying to win the game."



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source: SportMob

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