Ivan Toney’s Championship award highlights Stoke City defender’s potential


It is no surprise that Ivan Toney has been named Championship player of the month for October.

The Brentford striker and big money summer signing scored twice against Preston, twice against Coventry, twice against Sheffield Wednesday and bagged against Norwich, Luton and Swansea.

He didn’t, however, against Stoke City – although, admittedly, he did still chip in with an assist as Brentford came from 3-0 down to lose 3-2.

The 24-year-old was handled expertly by Nathan Collins, another of Michael O’Neill’s junior Potters alongside the club’s player of the month Harry Souttar and Tyrese Campbell, who was nominated next to Toney for the divisional award.

Collins has missed a chance for a proper run in the team so far this season but that is largely due to injury; a fractured hand picked up at Aston Villa followed by a tight hamstring. He’s fully fit now and came off the bench at Reading before heading off for international duty with Republic of Ireland under-21s.

His performance against Brentford was a real window into his potential. His time will come soon enough.

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Toney was buzzing around the area, constantly in his ear – and keen to squeeze that injured hand – but it was Collins instead who got the forward rattled. Toney ended up in the book for two quick frustrated fouls in succession on the 19-year-old centre-back.

Yes, he still got an assist with a lovely piece of skill but it’s no mean feat to keep him off the scoresheet and it was a very promising afternoon for one of Stoke’s most promising players.

Campbell, who set up two goals and scored another, did pretty well too.

Toney, however, deserves his award from the EFL panel.

He said: “It is my job to score goals. I’ve come to a club where the striker gets a lot of chances.

“I am thankful to the players around me because they are putting it on a plate for me and it is just my job to finish those chances.”

And Brentford manager Thomas Frank said: “Ivan is growing and his goals are of course the talking point, but for me goals are one thing.

“They are hugely important and it’s massive that he has already got into double figures. However, in terms of his link-up play and his workrate and the pressure, he is getting better and better on that and getting fitter and fitter so I’m really pleased with him for that as well.”

Toney cost an initial £5m from Peterborough in pre-season, replacing Aston Villa-bound Ollie Watkins in attack.

Sky Sports’ EFL pundit Don Goodman said: “Ivan Toney, has burst on to the Championship scene and Brentford’s recent tradition of showcasing young, attacking talent is on full display yet again, with Toney performing exceptionally well over the last month of action. Eight goals in six games says it all, the Bees have yet another star on their hands.”





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