Ivan Toney switches to right-back in bid to secure England World Cup place

He wants to be one of England's 11 right-backs in Qatar

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Brentford striker Ivan Toney will officially change his position to right-back in a bid to make the England World Cup squad, his club’s official website has confirmed.

The prolific hitman who has scored five goals and made two assists in his first seven Premier League games of the season will now wear number 2 for his club and has told local reporters that Danny Mills and Lee Dixon were his heroes growing up.

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“Yes it’s all true, Ivan is now the most feared right-back in the Premier League,” a source close to the player said.

“The minute Brentford confirmed the change in his position he had Gareth Southgate on the phone to him explaining how he’d like to experiment with him in the team for Italy and Germany”.

BURTON UPON TRENT, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 20: Ivan Toney of England looks on during a training session at St George’s Park on September 20, 2022 in Burton upon Trent, England. England will play their Nations League Group C match against Italy on September 23, 2022 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images)

Asked whether the move was necessary given his goalscoring form, our source explained the decision.

“Ivan’s started the season so well he deserves his chance, but we all know he needs to be strategic about it – he wouldn’t get a sniff as an out-and-out striker from Brentford.

“But as a right-back-target-man-goal-scorer, he’s the best in the world.”

Despite stiff competition from Reece James, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier, Glen Johnson, Rob Jones, Gary Steven and Viv Anderson, Toney knows his place within the squad is safe due to the large quota of right-back positions available amongst the final 26-man squad for Qatar.

“With 18 out of the 26 places for Qatar in the squad going to right-backs, Ivan is assured of a call-up this time around,

“However, we’ve heard Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Mason Mount are all looking into becoming right-backs ahead of the World Cup, so there could be some proper competition for places further down the line” concluded the source.

Gareth Southgate

And, ahead of the Nations League fixtures this week, FA chiefs have confirmed a new academy for aspiring right-backs will be opened in 2023.

The official spokesperson outlined that by Euro 2024, the ambition is to have an entire squad of right-backs with the academy offering training on how to be the next Paul Parker or Lucy Bronze for anybody wanting to kick a football.

A quote for the official statement:

“The era of strikers receiving the glory is finally over. It’s time to make the most forgettable position on the pitch the most sought-after position in the game. This is for every kid who got picked last in PE, and for every adult who wasn’t heard in their work meeting. Join us. Right-backs will finally have a voice.”

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