Premier League • England

Man Utd linked Ivan Toney slams ‘spiteful’ FA and vows to return as ‘a different animal’

Ivan Toney Brentford at British GP

Brentford striker Ivan Toney has described the timing of the news regarding his ban from football as ‘spiteful’ in a recent interview.

The 27-year-old was banned for eight months in May after admitting to 232 breaches of Football Association betting rules.

But, he says missing out on playing in the World Cup for England last year was a bigger punishment than the eight-month ban.

This is despite FA Chief Executive Mark Bullingham saying that Toney wasn’t picked in Gareth Southgate’s squad due to ‘footballing reasons.’

Although, with 20 goals in 33 Premier League appearances this season, that is somewhat of a surprise.

Before his ban, Toney was being linked with some of the biggest clubs in the Premier League, thanks to his fine form with Brentford.

For instance, Manchester United had registered an interest in the striker. Also, Chelsea and Tottenham had Toney on their radar.

But, as it stands, those clubs have now walked away from signing the Englishman, due to the fact he will miss a huge chunk of next season.

READ MORE: Postecoglou eyes stunning triple Tottenham deal with Man Utd beaten to signing Brentford star

Toney: Missing the World Cup was the ‘biggest punishment’

Now, in a recent interview with Kick Game UK, Toney has shared his feelings on the ban at length for the first time, claiming not going to Qatar was the ‘biggest punishment.’

He said: “In a way it was like get [the story] out now so you don’t play for England. Then, all of a sudden they want to wait until the end of the season to [implement the ban], but listen it is what it is.

“If they want to do it that way, I call it a bit spiteful but it is what it is and you just have to get on with it.

“The biggest punishment, even though I miss eight months of football, that was the biggest punishment to miss out on a World Cup – everyone’s dream – it is bigger than missing eight months of football. I believe in myself and hopefully I will be at the next one.”

Toney’s ban will end on January 16th next year. So, he will still have a decent handful of games to play for Brentford. Unless, of course, another team takes a big punt and signs him before then.

Brentford star vows to come back ‘a different animal’

Toney actually received a reduced ban due to being diagnosed with a gambling addiction.

Now, he has said he doesn’t want any sympathy and has vowed to come back ‘a different animal.’

“I have to prove people wrong like what I done when I first came into the Prem. They said I wouldn’t be able to score goals and I got into double figures. Next season, (I scored) 20 goals. So just keep getting better and better.

“The club (Brentford) have actually been very helpful and very supportive. Everybody at the club. Loads of footballers have messaged me too.

“The support is good but how I am I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me.

“I done what I done before, the punishment is the punishment and get on with it. Like I said I just have to focus on when I come back training. I want to be a different animal when I come back. It’s going to be frightening.”

Toney addresses football and gambling

Finally, Toney also suggested that football needs to do more to address its problematic relationship with gambling.

“The fact is, the majority of football teams now are sponsored by gambling companies.

“People out there are painting a certain picture of me, fair enough, but people that know me know who I am and what I’m about.

“The majority of football teams now are sponsored by gambling companies, so weigh it up.

“If the rules are not to bet, you shouldn’t be betting, but for people that need help there should be more around them to stop them going in that direction.

“When the time is right, I’ll speak out on the majority of things and clear a few things up that need to be cleared. That is not now, unfortunately.”

READ MORE: Sources: Crystal Palace, Brentford and Burnley gifted golden chance to sign Sunderland ace after contract talks stall