‘The new one’ – Leonardo Bonucci doesn’t know Ivan Toney’s name but labels Brentford’s England striker ‘very talented’
LEONARDO BONUCCI admits he has had to do his homework on Ivan Toney.
Brentford striker Toney, 26, could make his Three Lions debut against Italy on Friday night after being called up for Gareth Southgate’s last squad before November’s World Cup.
Despite his stunning form for the Bees in the Premier League, Toney is not yet a household name overseas like England skipper Harry Kane.
And Italy’s veteran centre back Bonucci says he has spent longer in the video analysis room to prepare for a potential first meeting with Toney on the pitch.
When asked about the attacking talent at Southgate’s disposal, Bonucci, 35, said: “With Kane, we have played many matches against each other.
“I believe he is a great striker and among the best in the world.
“And the new one? We will see. I watched some videos about him over these last few days and he is very talented.
“In England they have a great advantage as they have real talent thanks to the courage of Premier League clubs to make them play.”
Italy boss Roberto Mancini says his squad will “suffer” over the next few months after failing to qualify for football’s grandest tournament in Qatar this winter.
However, sitting third in Group A3 two points off the top with two games to play, there is still the chance to qualify for the Nations League semi-finals.
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And as reigning Euros champions – having beaten England on penalties at Wembley last summer – Mancini said: “This game brings back good memories. It is always a classic match.
“Nothing will steal the Euros from us. It will always be there, always be very important.
“We have problems. We want to be in Qatar, but we cannot always complain.
“In football and in life sometimes we have a short memory, but we will never forget the Euros.
“I hope the fans in the San Siro will be there to help the team with enthusiasm to beat a national team we have already beaten to win a European title.”