‘There was always gonna be another big chance’: Toney on England’s late Slovakia comeback, Bellingham’s heroics, and upcoming Switzerland test

England striker Ivan Toney says the Three Lions’ ‘never say die’ attitude helped them to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat in the Round of 16.

Toney, who teed up Harry Kane’s extra time winner against Slovakia, has said that, “there was always going to be another big chance in the dying moments.”

He continued: “It shows the quality and the character that we have in the group. Everyone thought we were dead and buried, but we stuck in there, we knew there was going to be a chance, and Jude doing Jude things he stuck it in the back of the net.”

Despite being mere moments from defeat, he maintains that England never gave up hope.

“I think that was kind of eye opening that we could be going home any minute, and the relief after in the dressing room, we said ‘right now boys, it is time to kick on.’ We have the character and the quality of players in the dressing room to do that now.

“In a lot of football games, there will be one big chance. You saw that in the Türkiye game, a player had a chance in the dying moments and the keeper pulled off a magnificent save. It’s that belief, a chance will fall to someone and you have to be ready to take it.”

Toney also commented on the lack of minutes he has received this summer, a far departure from the starting role he is used to at Brentford, saying that it is “always tough” to be on the bench. England manager Gareth Southgate had said that Toney was “disgusted” with being brought into the game so late on, but the forward said that the pair made up thanks to the result and he was happy to have taken his opportunity.

“Obviously every player will have a bit of a hump not playing,” Toney said. “Especially when there’s only a minute to go, we all want more than that. After we got the equaliser, it was up to me to get in a bit of space, get out of my mood, and get on with the game, and I think I did that.”

He continued: “In that moment, that was a time to control my emotions. Yes, I’m annoyed, but there is still 30 minutes of football to play, you have to come out of that mood and focus. There was a lot more to give for myself, there was 30 minutes of football and I had to play my part, and I managed to do that.”

“I think my presence on the pitch, trying to rough up a few defenders and put my body around, there was always going to be a chance for someone”

Besides the lack of on-pitch minutes, he added that he is proud to be in the squad, saying that “the quality in the team and on the bench is frightening, and this standard of football is where I do see myself, so it is improving me as a player and a person.”

Toney’s contributions against Slovakia were key to turning the result around, helping to create space for Bellingham’s equaliser and assisting Kane’s winner. He said that his attacking work off the ball largely comes down to instinct, pointing out that “If you can’t get the ball then affect someone else, take the defender. I take no credit away from Jude, he had a lot to do there, but you have to create some space for others.”

Looking ahead to England’s quarter finals tie against Switzerland, Toney believes Saturday’s opponents are no pushovers:

“[Switzerland] have some quality players, they are a great side and are doing very well in this tournament at the moment, so full respect to them. We can just concentrate on ourselves, concentrate on what we do best, and hopefully the players in the starting eleven and the players coming on is more than enough to win the game.

“Every game is going to be a battle, and we need to turn up ready to work hard and be in for the fight which we know the Swiss will put up.

We take it one game at a time, the mood [in the England camp] is still high, it has always been high, everyone is full of confidence and hopefully we can take the momentum into the next game.”

Toney also acknowledged that fans and pundits have high expectations for the team.

“There is always going to be expectation, there are a lot of people who will have an opinion and they are entitled to it. If we win 2-0, people will say we should have won 3-0 or 4-0, but like you say we are two games away from a major final, we just need to do what we can and hopefully that will be enough.”

Watch what else Toney had to say HERE:

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