Showman Ivan Toney must seize his chance at crucial England audition | David Hytner

The Brentford striker will play against Belgium with the role of understudy to Harry Kane very much up for grabs at Euro 2024

It can often feel as though Ivan Toney’s entrance into a game ought to be accompanied by a drum roll. The Brentford striker fizzes with showman energy, supreme self‑confidence. The only surprise, as Toney looked ahead to England’s Wembley friendly with Belgium on Tuesday night, was the identity of the man getting the sticks out to provide it.

Gareth Southgate is not given to revealing the details of his lineup, although he is hardly alone among his peers in this regard. But the England manager has made it clear that Toney will play against Belgium. On one level, it is not a shock. Harry Kane is out with an ankle problem and Ollie Watkins played the full 90 minutes in the 1-0 Wembley defeat against Brazil on Saturday.

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