Brentford striker Ivan Toney admits he had to stop himself from ‘nibbling’ back at Arsenal following social media posts from the Gunners he describes as ‘a bit cringey’.
Arsenal returned to the top of the Premier League table on Sunday after a 3-0 win over Brentford with William Saliba, Gabriel Jesus and Fabio Vieira all on the score sheet.
It was a very different performance from the same fixture last season, where the newly-promoted Bees sealed a 2-0 win over Mikel Arteta’s side in the first game of the season.
After that win, Toney tweeted: ‘Nice kick around with the boys’ – with Mikel Arteta later using that jibe as inspiration when Brentford came to the Emirates later in the season as revealed in the Amazon documentary ‘All or Nothing’.
Alexandre Lacazette was on target that day as Arsenal sealed a 2-1 win with the Frenchman parroting Toney’s tweet.
After Sunday’s win in west London, Arsenal defender Gabriel Magalhaes shared the same message, with Toney feeling the joke has comfortably run its course.
‘I think once was funny, second time a bit cringy but I bit my tongue, I wanted to reply, I wanted to nibble but fair play to them they played very well,’ Toney told a press conference on Tuesday.
‘They are a different Arsenal side to what we played before and they played very well, fair play to them, they are doing well.’
Toney was speaking after being called into the England squad for the first time ahead of Nations League fixtures against Italy and Germany in the coming days.
The 26-year-old has not previously represented the Three Lions at any youth level but insists he never abandoned his dream of representing his country.
‘I never doubted it. I have full confidence in myself, I feel like I have to keep working hard and it makes it that much sweeter when you get the chance,” Toney said.
‘I never played for any of the ages groups, I’ve gone straight into the senior squad. It’s a great achievement, I’m very proud and I wouldn’t have wanted it to go any other way.
‘This is my opportunity now. I’m excited and confident for it and I’m very hungry. I’ve been working for this moment and it’s here now. I’m not going to let it go by me. I’m going to take it with both hands and make the most of the opportunity I have.’