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Ivan Toney interview: Brentford striker on exceeding expectations, proving doubters wrong and competition with Marcus Forss | Football News

first_img Image:Brentford have won four of their opening 11 Championship fixtures  Image:Toney scored eight goals in just six games in October But it’s competition by name only, insists Toney.“If I can help him in any way then that’s the kind of person I am. If he scores a goal, I’m just as happy as he is for me. As long as we are both doing well, that’s all we can do. We bounce off each other and it helps. The manager has a choice to pick a striker; it’s me at the moment and it’s just up to me to keep my shirt.“As a striker, you want to score as many goals as possible and the more games there are, the more goals you can get. I’m excited for the next period and I just want to get more goals under my belt, as well as three points, to push us forward to getting promoted.” 1:58 Following news that Brentford had agreed a fee a few days prior, Sky Sports News travelled to Posh’s training ground to gauge Toney’s thoughts. “I want to play at the highest possible level – the Premier League,” he said. “I feel like my ability will get me there, whether it’s now, next season or whenever.”A short clip of the interview subsequently did the rounds in the increasingly volatile social media environment and what followed was a significant outpouring of vitriol, with his attitude and ability quickly called into question. It was mid-August and, with just weeks until the start of the 2020/21 campaign, speculation surrounding the future of Ivan Toney was beginning to ramp up.Peterborough had missed out on a place in the Sky Bet League One play-offs on a points-per-game basis and, having scored 26 goals in 39 games, the striker’s stock was at an all-time high. Scottish champions Celtic were among a host of clubs with a reported interest.- Advertisement – Toney stated his future Premier League ambitions in an interview with Sky Sports News in August – Advertisement – Highlights of the Sky Bet Championship match between Brentford and Middlesbrough. “People are going to have their opinions and just because it’s their opinion to have, it doesn’t mean it’s factual,” he says.“I see myself as a Premier League player. If I see myself as a Championship player, that’s not good enough. You have to aim higher and if you come just short then it’s not too bad. You must have high ambitions and high ambitions scare small-minded people. I’m excited to be in the Championship and I’m sure I can play a big part in taking Brentford to the Premier League.”When the dust had finally settled, the move to west London materialised on August 31, with the Bees forking out an initial £5million for his services, rising to a maximum of £10million including add-ons. Ollie Watkins was still on the club’s books at the time, though Toney’s arrival paved the way for his record-breaking move to Aston Villa.center_img Peterborough United striker Ivan ToneyImage:The 24-year-old scored 26 goals for Peterborough last season preview image 1:39 “It wasn’t much of a shock to the system, it was more excitement. When you are excited and you want to do something, you don’t really care how your body is. You look past that and just enjoy it,” he says.“I would never have thought I’d be in this position at the beginning of the season but I did believe in myself and I know what I’m capable of and it’s starting to really show. I’ve believed in myself, and the manager, all the staff and the players have helped me.“I feel like everyone is a team player; there’s no individuals or standouts. I know I’ve been scoring the goals but without them I wouldn’t have been able to score them. Everyone wants the same goal at the end, which is to get promoted.“It’s pretty much the same squad as last year, obviously taking out two players [Watkins and Said Benrahma]. I’m sure the whole team knows what it is like to be so close and then not make it. They don’t want the same heartache they had last year and we want to put things right.” Nonetheless, Watkins’ boots would take some filling. In his first season since moving in from the wing last summer, the 24-year-old had made the No 9 role his own, with 26 goals in 50 appearances. It represented a wholly daunting prospect for some.“I was just excited to take the challenge on because I like proving people wrong. Without blowing my own trumpet, I feel like I completed League One a few years ago,” Toney adds, with a smile.There were nerves when his first four games ended without a goal. But then one away at Millwall was followed by two against Preston, two against Coventry and two more against Sheffield Wednesday. Eight in six games in October saw him named Sky Bet Championship Player of the Month for October. Needless to say, the naysayers vanished.Even more impressive was the way he picked up where he left off last season, as if the six-month break before his Bees debut never happened. As he speaks to Sky Sports, however, it doesn’t take long to realise that his statement was somewhat misconstrued.- Advertisement – Meanwhile, jostling with Toney at the top of the Championship scoring charts is Blackburn’s Adam Armstrong. The pair were under contract at Newcastle from 2014 to 2018, though neither managed to break through to the first team on a regular basis. “I think we both have a point to prove,” Toney continues.“When I went to Newcastle, Adam was out on loan, but we did speak and said we should both be playing up front together. It was never to happen but he is a great striker who knows where the goal is, for sure.”There’s competition closer to home, though. Fresh from a loan spell at AFC Wimbledon last season, Marcus Forss has forced his way into head coach Thomas Frank’s plans and currently has four league goals from his eight appearances – all have which have come from the bench – which represents an incredible average of one goal every 35 minutes. Not to mention the fact he scored on his senior debut for Finland earlier this week, against world champions France, no less. Peterborough striker Ivan Toney– Advertisement –last_img read more

Badgers not downgrading pesky Beavers

first_imgAs excitement radiates from the locker room of the Wisconsin women’s hockey team, the need to focus is critical as the Badgers prepare to take on the Bemidji State Beavers this weekend.Although not ranked in the top 10, the Beavers (8-10-2) remain a competitive team that the Badgers (22-2-2) and head coach Mark Johnson refuse to overlook. Bemidji State has proved to be a problem for top-ranked teams like Wisconsin all season. Last weekend the Beavers tied No. 2 Minnesota on the road in game two of the series and lost 3-2 in a close game one.“[Bemidji State] works hard and plays with confidence and this season they have been pretty consistent by beating a lot of teams in our league and in the country,” Johnson said. “They are competitive, they work hard and they have a very good goaltender, so when those things happen you end up with a pretty good hockey team.”The teams met earlier this season and although Wisconsin swept the series by decisive scores of 6-1 and 3-1, but did not pick up the victories without a challenge.Key to Bemidji State’s success is its senior goaltender Zuzana Tomcikova. Ranked ninth in the nation for save percentage, Tomcikova is solid in the back and allows the Beavers to play aggressively on offense. The Badgers know they will have to put a lot of quality shots on net if they hope to emerge victorious.“Their goalie is outstanding and I think we really need to focus on eliminating their chances,” senior forward and assistant captain Brooke Ammerman said. “Because we aren’t going to beat her very often, we need to pressure them.”Despite the challenges Bemidji State presents, the Badgers have plenty of threats of their own, including sophomore goalie Alex Rigsby. Rigsby, with five shutouts so far this season – tied for third in the NCAA – has been instrumental to keeping the team on top.Adding to the usual pressure of conference play is the large crowd expected to attend game two of the series on Saturday night as Wisconsin hosts its third annual “Fill the Bowl” event. With reduced general admission, free student admission and group discounts, the Badgers are hoping to draw enough supporters to break the NCAA women’s hockey attendance record, which currently stands at 10,668 fans.Last year’s “Fill the Bowl,” which set that record, was a huge success for the program. UW was also able to beat Minnesota 3-1 in that game, which included a Badger goal just 47 seconds into the game.“We are really excited because of last year’s turnout to play in front of a lot of people, but also they are important games for us to stay on top,” Ammerman said. “I think both teams will play with a lot of energy, but nerves will play into the game just because there will be so many people.”How players and the teams react to the crowd will be a key factor in Saturday’s game.Johnson recognizes nerves may play a role in the game, but preaches the need to be consistent and focused despite how many people will be watching from the stands.“Playing Friday night and Saturday night is a bit different than a Friday afternoon which is certainly more quiet in the Kohl Center, and anytime you get energy in the building it creates some excitement,” Johnson said. “But until you drop the puck you don’t know how the team is going to react.”last_img read more