Ivan Toney to be given first England start against Belgium | Football

Ivan Toney will start against Belgium (Photo by James Baylis – AMA/Getty Images)

Brentford forward Ivan Toney will be handed his first England start in the friendly against Belgium.

The former Newcastle United striker has just one cap to his name after coming on as a late substitute against Ukraine in March 2022.

Toney was on course to make England’s World Cup squad for 2022 but an investigation into betting offences overshadowed his chances, and he subsequently served an eight-month ban.

The striker, who returned in January, has four goals in ten appearances for the Bees this season.

That earned him a call-up for England last week but he was an unused substitute as the Three Lions lost 1-0 to Brazil at Wembley.

Ollie Watkins started the game but he had little in the way of service as England managed just three shots on target.

But, with Harry Kane having returned to Bayern Munich due to an ankle injury, Toney is set to start against Belgium.

England v Ukraine: Group C - UEFA EURO 2024 Qualifying Round

Toney has one cap to his name (Photo by Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Images)

And Gareth Southgate says Toney must grasp the opportunity with both hands as there’s precious little time left to claim a place in England’s European Championships squad.

‘You can’t hide that fact,’ Southgate said. ‘He knows. It would be his first [international] start so you’ve got to bear that in mind as well.

‘But with England that’s the landscape, you don’t get hundreds of opportunities. I think every player recognises that’s the world we live in. 

‘He’s a confident guy, he comes in on the back of a good run of form with his club. He’s going to be on the field on Tuesday, no question.

‘That swagger, that self-belief is crucial. All of the top forward players have it.’

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