Brentford striker Ivan Toney has said he “never doubted” he would receive a call-up to the England squad.
Toney, 26, has scored five goals in seven Premier League games this season and was named in Gareth Southgate’s squad for Nations League games with Italy and Germany this month.
“I feel like I have full confidence in myself,” Toney said.
“I never played for any of the other age groups so going straight to the senior squad is a big achievement.”
Toney, who was playing in League One with Peterborough United as recently as March 2020, finds himself named in an England squad just two months before the World Cup starts in Qatar on 20 November.
“It is a massive opportunity for me to get myself on the plane. But I’ve just got to go game by game. Hopefully I’ll get a few minutes in the games we have.”
In their last fixtures before the World Cup, England face European champions Italy at the San Siro in Milan on Friday before taking on Germany at Wembley on 26 September.
Toney added: “If you manifest it you always have a big chance of doing it. No matter where I was – whether I was on loan here, there and everywhere – I always believed in myself that one day I would be a Premier League player.
“Now I’m a Premier League player and an England international.”
‘I’m actually going to play with the England squad’
Toney said he was left speechless when Brentford boss Thomas Frank delivered the news he had been called up by Southgate.
“I was driving to training, the Brentford gaffer called me,” Toney said. “I was running a bit late so I actually thought he was calling about my timekeeping.
“He just said he was privileged to tell me I had been called up to the England squad. It was the first time in my life I haven’t had anything to say.
“I was driving to training thinking, ‘Wow, I’m actually going to play with the senior England squad’.
“We have a family group chat, I video called everybody, I broke the news and they were screaming for about 20 minutes. My dad was beeping his horn, wherever he was.”
Asked what it was like to play alongside stars like Tottenham’s Harry Kane, Toney said it was a “privilege”.
“I take it in my stride and hopefully I get more playing time with them,” he added.
The Bees forward has scored 17 goals in 42 Premier League appearances – six of those from the penalty spot. But when questioned about who would be better option for penalties at the World Cup, Toney backed the England captain.
“He’s done it on a bigger stage so I’ll say it’s Harry Kane,” he said.
Gabriel’s ‘cringey’ tweet
After beating the Gunners 2-0 in Brentford’s first ever Premier League game last season, Toney had tweeted: “Nice kick about with the boys.”
In the return fixture, former Arsenal forward Alexandre Lacazette posted the same phrase after beating the Bees 2-1.
Gabriel did the same after last weekend’s win, to which Toney responded: “I think once was funny, second time was a bit cringey.
“I bit my tongue, I wanted to reply and wanted to nibble. But fair play to them, they are a different Arsenal side to the one we played before.”