Toney: Racist abuse won't stop me taking penalty

Ivan Toney has said recent cases of England players suffering racist abuse would not deter him from taking a penalty if required at Euro 2024.

Bukayo Saka, Marcus Rashford and Jadon Sancho were all targeted after missing spot-kicks as England lost the Euro 2020 final in a shoot-out to Italy at Wembley. Eleven people were subsequently arrested.

Manager Gareth Southgate admitted in June 2022 that considering the possible repercussions for Black players added “another layer of difficulty” to the task of improving England’s dreadful penalty shootout record.

The Three Lions have exited seven tournaments following shootout defeats, while captain Harry Kane missed a late penalty in regulation time as England lost 2-1 at the quarterfinal stage of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Toney has scored 31 out of his last 32 penalties for Brentford, and when asked on Wednesday whether the experiences of Saka, Rashford and Sancho would put him off taking a penalty if required, he said: “I’m a confident person. If I score, I score. If I miss, I miss. We have to step up and you have to have the courage to take a penalty. What will be, will be. For those who racially abuse a player for missing a penalty or doing something wrong, more fool them.

“I think [that confidence] is within, within the people around you. The manager puts his trust into you. Everyone around you, really.”

It was reported by the Press Association last Saturday that the UK Football Policing Unit has received almost 600 referrals of online abuse towards England players since Euro 2024 began.

Toney is also no stranger to suffering online abuse. In March 2023, a man was given a nationwide stadium ban for three years after racially abusing Toney and in February this year, Brentford condemned more “vile harassment” the 28-year-old suffered twice in the space of four weeks.

All 26 players took part in Wednesday’s training session ahead of Saturday’s quarterfinal against Switzerland in Dusseldorf, with Luke Shaw pushing to be available as he continues to recover from the hamstring problem which has sidelined him since February.

A source has told ESPN that England have experimented with a three-man defence in training, but it is as yet unclear whether Southgate will switch from the 4-2-3-1 system used in their first four matches.

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