Premier League • England

Ivan Toney says he ‘wanted to nibble’ at ‘cringey’ tweet retort from Arsenal man

Ivan Toney Brentford September 2022

Brentford striker Ivan Toney says he had to “bite his tongue” after Arsenal defender Gabriel Magalhaes latest “cringey” tweet.

The Gunners’ defender took to Twitter after their 3-0 cruise against the Bees on Sunday. Goals from William Saliba, Gabriel Jesus and Fabio Vieira sent Mikel Arteta’s side back to the top of the table. And Toney, who was called up by England last week, has admitted they are a “different side” this season.

It was a markedly different result from the corresponding fixture last season, where Brentford won 2-0 in their first-ever Premier League game.

It was that win in the opening game of the season which prompted Toney to tweet: “Nice kick about with the boys”.

The message clearly irked Arteta because he showed the message to his players before the reverse fixture at the Emirates Stadium.

The Amazon Prime documentary ‘All or Nothing’ featured Arteta highlighting what Toney had said, in fact it made up his pre-match team talk.

And it had the desired effect as Arsenal won 2-1, Alexandre Lacazette posting the exact same phrase to mock Toney’s earlier tweet.

‘Cringey’ tweet

Gabriel then followed suit after the weekend win, again posting: “Nice kick about with the boys” – but this time Toney did not see the funny side.

“I think once was funny, second time was a bit cringey,” he joked. “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.”

Toney’s mind though has been fixed on England all week. Five goals in Seven Premier League games saw the former Peterborough man summoned by Gareth Southgate.

Toney has revealed that failing to make the grade at Newcastle and moving to Peterborough in 2018 was a shock.

“That was an eye‑opener. That was: ‘Right, I have to turn my game around to get back up – I might see myself as a Premier League player but I am a League One player now. I have got to keep fighting and working hard.’ And I certainly did that,” said the 26-year-old.

Toney has a point to prove

“That was a factor that did come into play. I felt like: ‘You got rid of me, I am going to show you what I am capable of when I get the chance, whether it is a Premier League side or a League One side.’

“When I left Newcastle and went to Peterborough I wasn’t straight in the team. So I had to work much harder. Other strikers in front of me who were scoring goals. It was about being patient and when your chance comes you have to take it.”

England travel to Milan to face Italy in the Nations League on Friday. They then host Germany at Wembley three days later, with Toney gunning for game time.

“So surreal,” Toney said when asked how it was to train with the Three Lions.

“I feel like I’m sitting in here in an England top is such a privilege and is massive for me and my family and also my club.

“It is not just me that has done this, it is everyone around me that has played a massive part.”